The Baldwin Library
TIE DESERT ISLAND BREAKFAST.
The next morning "the Wlanders" were stirring early, and the first thing that
attracted nm attention, on oelbiing my eyes, w;~s a bhi gro-ip, cn,-isLlil. of Max,
iEulo, and Clhttle, gatstercl arou.d tiver at a little dista:ce.-t'age 12.
I,, I LLA
' P~I Til
2 w II
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C ,//,, -I 7'aZI*-d
TO MY FRIEND,
THE AUTHOR OF "CRUMBS FROM THE LAND O'CAKES."
Mr DEAR SIR,
Long ago, when to both of us the future seemed infinitely
wider, and richer in pleasant possibilities, than it nov does, I
promised, or threatened, that I would one day "write a book,"
and dedicate it to you.
Whether, in the humble capacity of Editor" of the work of
another, I have properly any business to dedicate it at all, is
a question which I am not sufficiently familiar with the code of
literary etiquette to decide: but I will venture in the present
instance to take the responsibility," even at the risk of being
called to account for. it by the islanders," should they even-
tually turn up."
Permit me, therefore, as a slight memento of the many
pleasant associations of "auld langsyne" in which we have
shared, and as the only fulfilment of a boyish pledge, that it
will probably ever be in my power to offer, affectionately to
inscribe to you this little volume.
THE YOUNG CAST-AWAYS
CHRISTOPHER ROMAUNT, ESQ.
And conjured up
My boyhood's earliet dreams of Isles that lie
In furthest depths o ocean; girt with all
Of natural wealth and splendour-jewelled isle,
Boundles in unimagisnble spoils,
Tat .arth I. stranger to."
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
vi EDITOR'S PREFA~~C
In the course of this task I discovered that some leaves of
tne first part of the manuscript were missing, and the only
information which I could glean respecting their probable
fate, favoured the opinion that they had either been put in
requisition as kite-tail, or served some other equally inglorious
Upon endeavouring to ascertain the particulars of the time
and place of the discovery of the little waif, I found that the
log-book of the voyage on which it had been picked up was
lost," and that the captain had no very certain or definite
recollection as to the circumstances most essential to be
According to his best impression, it was about the middle
of June 1841, and while sailing somewhere in the neighbour-
hood of the Kingsmill Islands, that the little ship had been
discovered. He was at the time upon a trading voyage, and
engaged in endeavouring to procure among the islands a
cargo of sandal wood and bdche de mer for the Canton market.
Upon opening the hatches of the tiny ship, which were
carefully secured, and rendered water-proof by a thick coat-
ing of some resinous gum, a roll of paper was found to consti-
tute her entire cargo. On examination, it proved to be a
closely-written manuscript, in a crabbed, and indeed almost
illegible hand, well calculated to discourage any very extended
investigation of its contents; at all events, the curiosity of
Master Decatur and his friends had not been sufficiently
powerful to overcome the difficulty; and when the facts first
came to my knowledge, as above related, not one of them
could give me any account of the subject matter of the manu-
EDITOR'S PREFACE. Vii
script. It contained, as I found, what purported to be a
"narrative of the adventures" of six lads, who, after getting
strangely enough adrift in a small boat, and being several
days at sea in imminent danger of starvation, finally, in the
nick of time, happened upon a desert island," where, after
the fashion of Robinson Crusoe and other shipwrecked
worthies, they appear to have led quite a romantic and holi-
day sort of life.
The narrative purports to have been written by one of the
youthful adventurers for the amusement of himself and com-
panions, from the materials furnished by a rude and meagre
journal, kept during the early period of their residence on the
island, upon fragments of the leaves of some tropical tree
adapted to that purpose.
It would seem that the islanders," pleased perhaps with
the notion of becoming the heroes of a tale, but probably
rather in the spirit of sportive mimicry than of serious ambi-
tion, determined to cut up their narrative into chapters,
stick a fragment of rhyme at the commencement of each,
after the most approved fashion, and, repudiating altogether
the modest form of a journal, to give it the garb and aspect
of a regular desert-island story."
When finally reduced to its present shape, it was, in ac-
cordance with the romantic suggestion of one of the young
Crusoes, securely deposited in the hold of the little craft,
which was then launched forth upon the deep, to convey to
the world the story of the islanders. Such appears to have
been their intention with regard to it, from the latter part
of the manuscript itself; and its subsequent discovery, under
viii EDITOR'S PREFACE.
the circumstances stated, proves that the design was put
At the termination of my visit, upon requesting permission
to take the manuscript home with me to examine at my
leisure, the captain at once relinquished all his right to it in
my favour, expressing some surprise that I should take such
an interest in the matter.
I subsequently read the narrative, in six winter evening
sittings, to my children and a few of their playmates. They
were all greatly delighted with it, and by their enthusiasm
on the subject, diffused among their juvenile acquaintance so
vehement a curiosity concerning "the new desert-island story,"
that I at length determined to publish it, as well for the gratifi-
cation of the young people, as for the purpose of advertising
the relatives and friends of the cast-aways, if any such should
still survive, of the strange and deplorable fate that has be-
fallen them ;* in order, as several of the little folks have
Upon a loose half-sheet of the manuscript I have found the following
memorandum of the names and former places of residence of these unfor-
tunate young persons, probably designed for the information of their
friends. Having received no answer to the letters of inquiry which I
thought it my duty to forward to these addresses (such of them, at least,
as are visited by the mail), I publishlthe memorandum, in the hope that
It may thus reach the eyes of the interested parties:-
JonN Bnowne, of Glasgow, Scotland;
ARTHUR IIAMrLTON, of Papieti, Tahiti;
WILLIAM MIRTON, of lillsdalc, New York
MAX ADELER, of lardscrabble, Columbia County, New York:
RICnARD ARCHIR, of Norwich, Connecticut;
CHARLIE LIVINGSTON, of Milford, Mass.;
EuLo, Prince of Tewa, x South Sea.
EDITOR'S PREFACE. ii
suggested, that suitable measures may be taken to secure
their restoration to their homes and country, and the govern-
ment, perhaps, be induced to fit out an exploring expedition
for the discovery of the island, and the relief of the young
The style and general character of the narrative are, in
the main, such as one might reasonably expect,-its supposed
author, and the circumstances under which it purports to
have been written, being taken into consideration. I say
purports, because it has been suggested in some quarters that
the whole thing might be nothing more than a harmless hoax,
perpetrated by some scribbling middy, who, after writing
the story as an agreeable pastime for his vacant hours, had
set it adrift in the manner in which it was found, as the
most eligible mode of disposing of it-of which supposition I
have only to remark, that it is entirely gratuitous, and un-
supported by a particle of proof.
The very faults of the narrative confirm its genuineness, by
their consistency with its supposed origin and authorship.
It is unequal, and evidently the work of an unpractised hand;
a boyish tone of feeling and a boyish sentimentality often
characterize it. There is also a great superfluity of detail;
the sayings, as well as the doings of the young adventurers,
are frequently recorded with a tedious minuteness. This
disposition to dwell upon minutiae, to attach importance to
things comparatively trivial, is a characteristic of the youth-
ful mind, and marks that period of freshness, joyousness, and
inexperience, when everything is new, and possesses the
power to surprise and to interest.
X EDITOR'S PREFACE.
But as the faults to which I have alluded, and others which
it would be easy to enumerate, escaped the criticism of the
juvenile auditory to which the story was first submitted, and
as some of those faults, and in particular the prolixity and
fulness of detail of which I have spoken, seemed, in their
estimation, to add to its interest, I have been unwilling to
take any liberties with it, and have finally concluded to send
the manuscript to the printer in all its original integrity.
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
Climbing for "Glory"-Max in a Cocoa-Palm-A Tropical Scene-
How People are Cast Away"-Charlie's Views of Desert Island
Life, .. .. ... ... ... ... 1
The Fugitive-A Hazardous Attempt-A Race with the Mutineers-
The Wounded Rower-The Coral Ledge, ... ... ... 8
"One more Effort!"-A Brief Warning-The Struggle and its results'
-The Strange Sail-Darkness-The Open Sea, ... ... 15
A Night of Gloom-Morton's Narrative-Frazer and the Mutineers-
Visionary Terrors-The First Morning-An Alarming Discovery, 22
The Last Doubt Resolved-Out of Sight of Land-Slender Resources
-What's to be done?-A Holiday Adventure!"-A Guess at our
Position. ... ... ... ... ... ... .. 31
The Second Watch-A Narrow Escape-An Evil Omen-The Spectre
Fish-The Sky and the Ocean-A Breakfast Lost-The Commence-
ment of Suffering, ... ... ... ... ...... 38
Threatening Indications-A Welcome Peril-The Albacore and their
Prey-A Strange Repast-A Tropical Thunder-Storm, ... ... 47
TOKENS OF LAND.
Sunset on the Southern Ocean-The Perfect Sphere-"Must we
Perish?"-The Mysterious Sound-The Distant Conflagration, ... $1
A Bitter Disappointment-The Little Sufferer-Fever and Delirium
-The Midnight Bath-A Strange Peril, ... ... ... 9
Sea Creatures-A Mournful Change-The Cachelot and his Assail-
ants-The Combat-New Acquaintances, ... .. ... 67
The Little Islander-A Stupendous Spectacle-The Whirling Pillars
-We Lose our New Friends,... ... ... ... ... 79
OUR ISLAND HOME.
The "Aveia"-The Illusion of the Golden Haze-The Barrier Reef--
A Wall of Breakers-A Struggle for Life-The Islet of Cocoa-
Palms, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 84
THE EXPLORING EXPEDITION.
The Evils of Inaction-Arthur's Remedy-Eiulo-Exhilarating Influ-
ences-Pearl Shell Beach-The Feathered Colony-An Invasion
Repelled, ... ... ... ... ... ... 98
The Noonday Halt-A Charming Resting-Place-Charlie Instructs
us how Desert-Islanders are wont to make a Fire-Heathen Skill
versus Civilization and the Story-Books, ... ... ... 110
Exemplary Birds-A "Desperate Engagement"-Charlie discovers
"an Oyster-Tree "-Vagrants, or Kings?-A Night in the Woods
-A Sleeping Prescription, ... ... ... ... ... 118
A Desert-Island Breakfast-Coming Out Strong under Discouraging
Circumstances-Romance and Reality-Consoling Precedents-
The Prince and Princess, ... ... ... .. 129
THE PROGRESS OP DISCOVERY.
A Voice in the Woods-" Vive Napoleon ?"-How Desert-Islanders
"do their Wash. ,'-Arthur "Calculates our Longitude"-Ro-
gerogee-The ild Frenchman's" Hat, ... ... ... 136
A Dull Chapter-But Necessary-Future Acquaintances-Wakatta
and Atollo-The Siesta Disturbed-A Gentle Hint -Max as an
Architect, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... LI9
THE CORAL REEF.
An Expedition by Water-An Affectionate Pair-Charlie and the
Chama-An Ambuscade for Land-Crabs-Amateur Pearl-Diving-
A Shark Blockade-Culinary Genius, ... ... ... 161
An Eveningat Palm Islet-Story-Telling-Browne on "The Knightly
Character"-lokoa-A Voyage to the Cannibal Island of Angatan, 172
THE CANNIBAL VILLAGE.
The Mliro Grove-The Marae-The Old Priest-Mowno at IHome-A
Happy Savage-Cannibal Young Ladies-Olla and her Friends-
A Cannibal Dinner, ... ... ... ... ... ... 184
"Lai-Evi"-A Flowery Warfare-The Cannibals Appreciate Music
and Eloquence-But take Offence at the New Theology, ... 199
The Priest's Spies, and Olla's Stratagem-Rokoa's Expedition-The
Hasty Departure-The Pursuit-The Priest's Ambush, ... ... 210
Dawn on" the Lagoon-Charlie's Plan of Making a Fortune-The
"Sea Attorney"-The "Shark Exterminator"-Max "Carries the
War into Africa"-Our House Begun-Mermaid's Cove, ..- 228
TIE CABIN BY THE LAKE.
Our House Completed-Echo-Vale and Lake Laicomo-A Democrat
in the Woods-Harry Clay and General Jackson-Charlie's "Wild
Frenchman" Discovered at Last, ... ... ... ... 238
Preparations for the Rainy Season-Our House put to the Test-
Going into Wintcr-Quarters-Laying in Supplics-Monsieur Paul
-Max Baffled-The Patriarch of the Lake, ... ... ... 249
WINTER EVENINGS AT HOME.
Our In-Door Resources-Amusements and Occupations-Chess and
Fencing-The Rival Story-Tellers-The "South Sea Lyceum," ... 256
Our Seclusion Invaded-Spring in the Tropics-The Excursion-The
Islet in the Stream-The Grove-Tree-Lost Companions, ... 2C5
The Charm Fading-Home, sweet Home!-We Seek the Misling
Ones-A Startling Discovery-The Footprints and the Trail-The
Canoe upon the Shore, ... ... ... ... 274
The Two Parties of Natives-The Pursuers and Pursued-We are
Discovered-The Consultation and Decision-An Exciting Moment
-Fencing Lessons put in Practice-The Principles of the Broad-
sword Exercise Misapplied, ... ... ... .. ... 283
RECONNOITRING BY NIGHT.
The Return to the Islet-Perplexity and Doubt-Morton's Determi-
nation- The Search Renewed-The Captives-Atollo and the
Tewans, ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 294
THE SINGLE COMBAT.
Preparations for an Attack-The Islet Fortified-A Demand and
Refusal-The Battle of Banian Islet-A Timely Reinforcement-
The Two Champions, ... ... ... .. 306
An Invitation to Tewa-Max's Flattering Opinion of Wakatta-In-
ducements to Colonize-Preparations to Depart-The Manuscript
and the Messenger-Ship, .. ... .. ... ... 328
THE ISLAND HOME.
THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
MAX IN A COCOA-PALM--CHARLIE'S VIEWS OF DESERT-
"0 give us some bright little isle of our own,
In the blue summer ocean, far off and alone."
As we wandered along the
shore (taking care to keep in sight of Mr. Frazer, under
whose convoy, in virtue of his double-barrelled fowling-
piece, we considered ourselves), we came to a low and
narrow point, running out a little way into the sea, the
extremity of which was adorned by a stately group of
The spot seemed ill adapted to support vegetation of
so magnificent a growth, and nothing less hardy than the
cocoa-palm could have derived nourishment from such a
soil. Several of these fine trees stood almost at the
water's edge, springing from a bed of sand, mingled with
black basaltic pebbles, and coarse fragments of shells and
coral, where their roots were washed by every rising tide:
yet their appearance was thrifty and flourishing, and they
were thickly covered with close-packed bunches of tassel-
2 THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
like, straw-coloured blossoms, and loaded with fruit in
various stages of growth.
Charlie cast a wistful glance at the compact clusters of
nuts, nestling beneath the graceful tufts of long leaves
that crowned each straight and tapering trunk; but he
had so recently learned from experience the hopelessness
of undertaking to climb a cocoanut-tree, that he was not
at present disposed to renew the attempt. Max, however,
who greatly valued himself upon his agility, and professed
to be able to do anything that could be done in the way
of climbing, manifested an intention to hazard his reputa-
tion by making the doubtful experiment. After looking
carefully around, he selected for the attempt a young
tree near the shore, growing at a considerable inclination
from the perpendicular; and clasping it firmly, he slowly
commenced climbing, or rather creeping, along the slant-
ing trunk, while Charlie watched the operation from below
with an interest as intense as if the fate of empires de-
pended upon the result.
Max, who evidently considered his character at stake,
and who climbed for "glory" rather than for cocoanuts,
proceeded with caution and perseverance. Once he
partly lost his hold, and swung round to the under side
of the trunk, but by a resolute and vigorous effort lie
promptly recovered his position, and finally succeeded in
establishing himself quite comfortably among the enor-
mous leaves that drooped from the top of the tree. Here
he seemed disposed to rest for a while, after his arduous
and triumphant exertions, and he sat looking compla-
cently down upon us from his elevated position, without
making any attempt to secure the fruit, which hung within
his reach in abundant clusters.
Hurra for Harry Clay I" cried Charlie, capering
about, and clapping his hands with glee, as soon as this
much-desired consummation was attained. "Now, M.x,
pitch down the nuts 1"
MAX IN A COCOA PALM.
Afer enjodiug the impnt, '" eom d b, the tontohiog lelihbretrna of hi, o-1
m.",menu. Mnx Iota hod too ,ndte clustor ofzuut from tho tieo, hbich furliihed
_0 bOndhuado~at supply -oags .&
THE TROPICAL ISLAND. 3
"Hurra for Harry Clay indeed!" growled Max, puf-
fing and panting from his recent efforts; "it seems to me
that it would be much more proper and becoming, under
the circumstances, to hurra for Max Addler. Harry Clay
couldn't begin to climb this tree, and I doubt if he can
help you to these cocoanuts."
Charlie was but shouting his favourite war-cry, in cele-
bration of your success," said Arthur: though he huzzaed
for Harry Clay, his exultation was called forth by your
triumph; therefore, hasten to let him participate in its
"He rejoices in the victory," answered Max, "only
because he anticipates a share in the spoils. But do you
suppose that I climbed this tree, animated by the vulgar
desire of sucking cocoanuts I No; I wished to show you
how difficulties apparently insurmountable vanish before
skill and perseverance."
After having teased Charlie sufficiently, and enjoyed
the impatience caused by the tantalizing deliberation of
his own movements, Max detached two entire clusters
of nuts from the tree, which furnished us an abundant
Selecting a pleasant spot beside the beach, we sat down
to discuss the cocoanuts at our leisure, which occupied us
some little time. Upon looking round after we had fin-
ished, we discovered that our convoy had disappeared, and
Charlie, whose imagination was continually haunted by
visionary savages and cannibals, manifested considerable
uneasiness upon finding that we were alone.
As the sun was already low in the west, and we sup-
posed that the party engaged in getting wood had in
all probability finished their work, we concluded to re-
turn, and to wait for Mr. Frazer and the rest of the
shore party at the boats, if we should not find them al-
As we skirted the border of the grove on our return,
4 THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
Charlie every now and then cast an uneasy glance to-
wards its darkening recesses, as though expecting to see
some wild animal or a yelling troop of tattooed islanders
rush out upon us. The forest commenced about two
hundred yards from the beach, from which there was a
gradual ascent, and was composed of a greater variety
of trees than I had observed on the other islands of a
similar size at which we had previously landed. Arthur
called our attention to a singular and picturesque group
of tournefortias, in the midst of which, like a patriarch
surrounded by his family, stood one of uncommon size,
and covered with a species ot fern, which gave it a strik-
ing and remarkable appearance. The group covered a
little knoll, that crowned a piece of rising ground, ad-
vanced a short distance beyond the edge of the forest.
It was a favourable spot for a survey of the scene around
us. The sun, now hastening to his setting, was tinging
all the western ocean with a rich vermilion glow. The
smooth white beach before us, upon which the long-roll-
ing waves broke in even succession, retired in a graceful
curve to the right, and was broken on the left by the
wooded point already mentioned.
As you looked inland, the undulating surface of the
island, rising gradually from the shore, and covered with
the wild and luxuriant vegetation of the tropics, delighted
the eye by its beauty and variety. The noble bread-fruit-
tree, its arching branches clothed with its peculiarly rich
and glossy foliage; the elegantly-shaped casuarina, the
luxuriant pandanus, and the palms, with their stately
trunks, and green crests of nodding leaves, imparted to
the scene a character of Oriental beauty.
"Why do they call so lovely a spot as this a desert
island, I wonder 1" exclaimed Charlie, after gazing around
him a few moments in silence.
"Did you ever hear of a desert island that wasn't a
lovely spot I" answered Max. "Why, your regular desert
TIlE TROPICAL ISLAND. 5
island should combine the richest productions of the tem-
perate, torrid, and frigid zones-a choice selection of the
fruits, flowers, vegetables, and animals of Europe, Asia,
and Africa. This would by no means come up to the
average standard. I doubt if you could find upon it so
much as a goat or a poll-parrot, much less an nager,' a
buffalo, or a boa-constrictor, some of which at least are
indispensable to a desert island of any respectability."
"Why, then, do they call such delightful places desert
islands?" repeated Charlie. "I always thought a desert
was a barren wilderness, where there was nothing to be
seen but sand, and rocks, and Arabs."
"I believe they are more properly called desolate
islands," said Arthur; "and that seems proper enough;
for even this island, with all its beauty, is supposed to be
uninhabited, and it would be a very lonely and desolate
home. Would you like to live here, Charlie, like Robin-
son Crusoe, or the Swiss family ?"
"Not all alone, like Robinson Crusoe. 0 no! that
would be horrible; but I think we might all of us to-
gether live here beautifully a little while, if we had plenty
of provisions, and plenty of arms to defend ourselves
against the savages; and then, of course, we should want a
house to live in too."
Nonsense," said Max, "what should we want of pro-
visions ?-the sea is full of fish, and the forest of birds;
the trees are loaded with fruit; there are oysters and
other shell-fish in the bays; and no doubt there are vari-
ous roots, good for food, to be had by digging for them.
As to a house, we might sleep very comfortably, in such
weather as this, under these tournefortias, and never so
much as think of taking cold; or we could soon build a
serviceable hut, which would be proof against sun and
rain, of the trunks and boughs of trees, with a thatch of
palm-leaves for a roof. Then, in regard to arms, of course,
if it should be our fate to set up for desert islanders, we
G THE TROPICAL ISLAND.
should be well supplied in that line. I never heard of any
one, from Robinson Crusoe down, being cast away on a
desert island without a good store of guns, pistols, cut-
lasses, &c. &c. Such a thing would be contrary to all pre-
cedent, and is not for a moment to be dreamed of."
But we haven't any arms," said Charlie," except those
old rusty cutlasses that Spot put into the yawl, and if we
should be cast away, or left here, for instance, where should
we get them from I"
O, but we're not cast away yet," replied Max. "This
is the way the thing always happens. When people are
cast away, it is in a ship of course."
"Why, yes; I suppose so," said Charlie, rather doubt-
Well-the ship is always abundantly supplied with
everything necessary to a desert-island life; she is driven
ashore; the castaways--the future desert islanders-by
dint of wonderful good fortune, get safely to land; the
rest of course are all drowned, and so disposed of: then,
in due time, the ship goes to pieces, and ever-thing need-
ful is washed ashore, and secured by the islanders. That's
the regular course of things-isn't it, Arthur 1"
Yes, I believe it is, according to the story-books, which
are the standard sources of information on the subject."
"Or sometimes," pursued Max, "the ship gets comfort-
ably wedged in between two convenient rocks (which
seem to have been designed for that special purpose), so
that the castaways can go out to it on a raft, or float of
some kind, and carry off everything they want-and singu-
larly enough, although the vessel is always on the point of
going to pieces, that catastrophe never takes place until
everything which can be of any use is secured."
"Do you suppose, Arthur," inquired Charlie, "that
there are many uninhabited islands that have never been
"There are believed to be a great many of them,"
TIE TROPICAL ISLAND. 7
answered Arthur, and it is supposed that new ones are
constantly being formed by the labours of the coral insect.
A bare ledge of coral first appears just at the surface ; it
arrests floating substances, weeds, trees, &c.; soon the sea-
birds begin to resort there; by the decay of vegetable and
animal matter a thin soil gradually covers the foundation
of coral; a cocoanut is drifted upon it by the winds, or
the currents of the sea'; it takes root, springs up; its fruit
ripens, and falls, and in a few years the whole new-formed
island is covered with waving groves."
"Mr. Frazer says he has no doubt that these seas
swarm with such islands, and that many of them have
never been discovered," said Max; "besides, here's poetry
0 many are the beauteous isles
Unseen by human eye,
That sleeping 'mid the ocean smiles,
In happy silence lie.
The ship may pass them in the night,
Nor the sailors know what lovely sight
Is sleeping on the main;"
hut this poetical testimony will make Arthur doubt the
"Not exactly," answered Arthur, "though I am free to
admit, that without Mr. Frazer's opinion to back it, your
poetical testimony would not go very far with me."
Hark there go Mr. Frazer's two barrels," cried Max,
as two reports in quick succession were heard, coming
apparently from the grove in the direction of the spring;
"he has probably come across a couple of 'rare speci-
mens, to be added to his stuffed collection."
TIE MUTINEERS-THE RACE FOR LIFE-THE CORAL
Now bend the straining rowers to their oars;
Fast the light shallops leave the lessening shores;
No rival crews in emulous sport contend,
But life and death upon the event depend."
THE next moment we were startled by a quick, fierce
shout, followed immediately by a long, piercing, and dis-
tressful cry, proceeding from the same quarter from which
the reports of firearms had been heard; and before we
had time to conjecture the cause or meaning of these
frightful sounds, Morton bounded like a deer from the
grove, about a hundred yards from the spot where we
were standing, and ran swiftly towards us, crying out-
"To the boats for your lives to the boats I"
Our first thought was, that the party at the spring had
been attacked and massacred by the natives. Arthur
seized Charlie by one hand, and motioned to me to take
the other, which I did, and without stopping to demand
any explanations, we started at a rapid pace in the direc-
tion of the yawl, Max taking the lead-Arthur and myself
dragging Charlie between us coming next, and Morton a
few paces behind us bringing up the rear. It took but
a few moments to enable us to reach the spot where the
yawl lay, hauled up,'upon the beach. There was no one
in her, or in sight, except Browne, who was comfortably
THE ALARM. 9
stretched out near the boat sound asleep, with an open
book lying beside him.
Morton aroused the sleeper by a violent shake. "Now
then," cried he, "let us get the boat into the water; the
tide is down, and the yawl is heavy; we shall want all the
strength we can muster."
By a united effort we got the yawl to the edge of the surf.
Browne, though not yet thoroughly awake, could not
but observe our pale faces and excited appearance, and
gazing from one to another in a bewildered manner, he
asked what was the matter; but no one made any answer.
Morton lifted Charlie into the boat, and asked the rest of
us to get in, except Arthur, saying that they two would
push her through the surf.
Hold !" cried Arthur, "let us not be too fast; some of
the others may escape the savages, and they will naturally
run this way-we must not leave them to be murdered."
"There are no savages in the case," answered Morton,
"and there is no time to be lost; the men have killed the
first officer, and Mr. Frazer too, I fear; and they will take
the ship, and commit more murders, unless we can get
there before them, to warn those on board."
This was more horrible than anything that we had anti-
cipated; but we had no time to dwell upon it: the sound
of oars rattling in their row-locks was heard from beyond
"There are the mutineers I" cried Morton; "but I think
that we have the advantage of them; they must pull round
yonder point, which will make at least a quarter of a mile's
difference in the distance to the ship."
"There is no use in trying to get to the ship before
them," said Max; "the longboat pulls eight oars, and
there are men enough to fill her."
"There is use in trying; it would be shameful not to
try; if they pull most oars, ours is the lightest boat,"
answered Morton with vehemence.
10 THE ALARM.
SIt is out of the question," said Browne; see; is there
any hope that we can succeed ?" and he pointed to the
bow of the longboat just appearing from behind the point.
0, but this is not right! Browne! Max! in the name
of all that is honourable let us make the attempt," urged
Morton, laying a hand in an imploring manner on the arm
of each. Shall we let them take the ship and murder
our friends, without an effort to warn them of their
danger ? You, Arthur, are for making the attempt I know.
This delay is wrong: the time is precious."
"Yes, let us try it," said Arthur, glancing rapidly from
the longboat to the ship; "if we fail, no harm is done,
except that we incur the anger of the mutineers. I for
one am willing to take the risk."
Max sprang into the boat, and seized an oar without
"You know well that I am willing to share any danger
with the rest, and that it was not the danger that made
me hesitate," said Browne, laying his hand on Morton's
shoulder, and looking earnestly into his face; and then,
in his usual deliberate manner, he followed Max's ex-
Morton, Arthur, and myself, now pushed the boat into
the surf, and sprang in. At Arthur's request, I took the
rudder; he and Morton seized the two remaining oars,
and the four commenced pulling with a degree of coolness
and vigour that would not have disgraced older and more
practised oarsmen. As I saw the manner in which they
bent to their work, and the progress we were making, I
began to think our chance of reaching the ship before the
crew of the longboat by no means desperate.
Morton, in spite of his slender figure and youthful ap-
pearance, which his fresh, ruddy complexion, blue eyes,
and brown curling locks rendered almost effeminate, pos-
sessed extraordinary strength and indomitable energy.
Browne, though his rather heavy frame and breadth of
THE ALARM. 11
shoulders gave him the appearance of greater strength
than he actually possessed, was undoubtedly capable,
when aroused, of more powerful temporary exertion than
any other of our number; though, in point of activity and
endurance, lie would scarcely equal Morton or Arthur.
Max, too, was vigorous and active, and when stimulated
by danger or emulation, was capable of powerful effort.
Arthur, though of slight and delicate frame, was compact
and well knit, and his coolness, judgment, and resolution,
enabled him to dispose of his strength to the best advan-
tage. All were animated by that high and generous
spirit which is of greater value in an emergency than any
amount of mere physical strength; a spirit which often
stimulates the feeble to efforts as surprising to him who
puts them forth as to those who witness them.
Browne had the bow-oar, and putting his whole force
into every stroke, was pulling like a giant. Morton, who
was on the same side, handled his oar with less excitement
and effort, but with greater precision and equal efficiency.
It was plain that these two were pulling Max and Arthur
round, and turning the boat from her course; and as I
had not yet succeeded in shipping the rudder, which was
rendered difficult by the rising and falling of the boat,
and the sudden impulse she received from every stroke, I
requested Browne and Morton to pull more gently. Just as
I had succeeded in getting the rudder hung, the crew of
the longboat seemed to have first observed us. They had
cleared the point to the southward, and we were perhaps
a hundred yards nearer the long point, beyond which we
could see the masts of the ship, and on doubling which
we should be almost within hail of her. The latter point
was probably a little more than half a mile distant from
us, and towards the head of it both boats were steering.
The longboat was pulling eight oars, and Luerson, who
had had the difficulty with the first officer at the Kings-
mill Islands, was at the helm. As soon as lie observed us,
12 THE ALARM.
he appeared to speak to the crew of his boat, and they
commenced pulling with greater vigour than before. He
then hailed us-
Holloa, lads! where's Frazer Are you going to leave
him on the island ."
We pulled on in silence.
"He is looking for you now somewhere along shore;
he left us, just below the point, to find you; you had
better pull back and bring him off."
"All a trick," said Morton; "don't waste any breath
with them ;" and we bent to the oars with new energy.
"The young scamps mean to give the alarm," I could
hear Luerson mutter with an oath, as he surveyed for a
moment the interval between the two boats, and then the
distance to the point.
There's no use of mincing matters, my lads," he cried,
standing up in the stern; "we have knocked the first
officer on the head, and served some of those who didn't
approve of the proceeding in the same way; and now we
are going to take the ship."
"We know it, and intend to prevent you," cried Morton,
panting with the violence of his exertions.
"Unship your oars till we pass you, and you shall not
be hurt," pursued Luerson in the same breath; "pull
another stroke at them, and I will serve you like your
friend Frazer, and he lies dead at the spring."
The ruffian's design in this savage threat was doubtless
to terrify us into submission; or at least so to appal and
agitate us, as to make our exertions more confused and
feeble. In this last calculation he may have been partially
correct, for the threat was fearful, and the danger immi-
nent: the harsh deep tones of his voice, with the feroci-
ous determination of his manner, sent a thrill of horror to
every heart. More than this he could not effect; there
was not a craven spirit among our number.
"Steadily 1" said Arthur in a low, collected tone;
"less than five minutes will bring us within hail of the
But the minutes seemed hours, amid such tremendous
exertions and such intense anxiety. The sweat streamed
from the faces of the rowers; they gasped and panted for
breath; the swollen veins stood out on their foreheads.
"Perhaps," cried Luerson, after a pause, perhaps there
is some one in that boat who desires to save his life; who-
ever drops his oar shall not be harmed; the rest die."
A scornful laugh from Morton was the only answer to
this tempting offer.
Luerson now stooped for a moment, and seemed to
be groping for something in the bottom of the boat.
When he rose, it was with a musket or fowlingpiece in
his hands, which he cocked, and coming forward to the
bow, levelled towards us.
"Once more," he cried, "and once for all, drop your
oars, or I fire among you."
"I don't believe it is loaded," said Arthur, "or he would
have used it sooner."
"I think it is Frazer's gun," said Morton, "and he fired
both barrels before they murdered him; there has been
no time to reload it."
The event showed the truth of these suspicions; for
upon seeing that his threat produced no effect, Luerson
resumed his seat in the bows, the helm having been given
to one of the men not at the oars.
We were now close upon the point, and as I glanced
from our pursuers to the ship, I began to breathe more
freely. They had gained upon us; but it was inch by
inch, and the goal was now at hand. The longboat,
though pulling eight oars, and those of greater length
than ours, was a clumsier boat than the yawl, and at pre-
sent heavily loaded: we had almost held our own with
them thus far.
But now Luerson sprang up once more in the bow of
14 THE ALARM.
the longboat, and presented towards us the weapon with
which he had a moment before threatened us; and this
time it was no idle menace. A puff of smoke rose from
the muzzle of the piece, and just as the sharp report
reached our ears, Browne uttered a quick exclamation of
pain, and let fall his oar.
For a moment all was confusion and alarm; but
Browne, who had seized his oar again almost instantly,
declared that he was not hurt; that the ball had merely
razed the skin of his arm; and he attempted to recom-
mence rowing: before, however, he had pulled half-a-
dozen strokes, his right hand was covered with the blood
which streamed down his arm.
I now insisted on taking his oar; and he took my place
at the helm.
While this change was being effected, our pursuers
gained upon us perceptibly. Every moment was precious.
Luerson urged his men to greater efforts; the turning
point of the struggle was now at hand, and the excitement
"Steer close in; it will save something in distance,"
gasped Morton, almost choking for breath.
Not too close," panted Arthur; don't get us
"There is no danger of that," answered Morton, "it is
deep off the point."
Almost as he spoke, a sharp grating sound was heard
beneath the bottom of the boat, and our progress was
arrested with a suddenness that threw Max and myself
from our seats. We were upon a ledge of coral, which at
a time of less excitement we could scarcely have failed to
have observed and avoided, from the manner in which the
sea broke upon it.
A shout of mingled exultation and derision, as they
witnessed this disaster, greeted us from the longboat,
which was ploughing through the water but a little way
A puff of imole rose from tie muzzle of the piece, and just as the sharp report
reached our ears, Browe utiereL a quick exclanmatlon of pail, ad let fall Iis oar.-
"'=~~; .; ;~-"~~"i"
THE CONFLICT. 15
behind us, and some twenty yards further out Irom the
"It is all up," said Morton bitterly, dropping his oar.
"Back water! Her stern still swings free," cried Arthur;
"the next swell will lift her clear."
We got as far aft as possible, to lighten the bows; a
huge wave broke upon the ledge, and drenched us with
spray; but the yawl still grated upon the coral.
Lucrson probably deemed himself secure of a more con-
venient opportunity, at no distant period, to wreak his
vengeance upon us: at anyrate there was no time for it
now; he merely menaced us with his clenched fist as they
swept by. Almost at the same moment a great sea came
rolling smoothly in, and as our oars dipped to back water,
we floated free; then a few vigorous strokes carried us to
a safe distance from the treacherous shoal.
A FINAL EFFORT-A BRIEF WARNING-THE STRANGE SAIL.
HERMANN. Brother, though we should fail, the attempt were noble.
AxAND. We'll make the essay: here is my hand upon it.
"ONE more effort!" cried Arthur, as the mutineers dis-
appeared behind the point; "we are not yet too late to
give them a warning, though it will be but a short one."
Again we bent to the oars, and in a moment we too had
doubled the point, and were in the wake of the longboat.
The ship lay directly before us, and within long hailing
16 THE CONFLICT.
"Now, comrades, let us shout together, and try to make
them understand their danger," said Browne, standing up
in the stern.
"A dozen strokes more," said Arthur, "and we can do
it with more certain success."
Luerson merely glanced back at us as he once more
heard the dash of our oars; but he took no farther notice
of us: the crisis was too close at hand.
On board the ship all seemed quiet. Some of the men
were gathered together on the starboard bow, apparently
engaged in fishing; they did not seem to notice the ap-
proach of the boats.
"Now, then!" cried Arthur, at length unshipping his
oar and springing to his feet, one united effort to attract
their attention-all together-now, then!" and we sent
up a cry that echoed wildly across the water, and startled
the idlers congregated at the bows, who came running to
the side of the vessel nearest us.
"We have got their attention; now hail them," said
Arthur, turning to Browne, who had a deep, powerful
voice; "tell them not to let the longboat board them."
Browne put his hands to his mouth, and in tones that
could have been distinctly heard twice the distance,
"Look out for the longboat-don't let them board you
-the men have killed the first officer, and want to take
the ship !" From the stir and confusion that followed, it
was clear that the warning was understood.
But the mutineers were now scarcely twenty yards from
the vessel, towards which they were ploughing their way
with unabated speed. The next moment they were under
her bows; just as their oars flew into the air, we could
hear a deep voice from the deck sternly ordering them to
"keep off," and I thought that I could distinguish Captain
Erskine standing near the bowsprit.
The mutineers gave no heed to the order; several of
THE CONFLICT. 17
them sprang into the chains, and Lucrson among the rest.
A fierce though unequal struggle at once commenced.
The captain, armed with a weapon which lie wilded in
both hands, and which I took to be a capistan-bar, struck
right and left among the boarders as they attempted to
gain the deck, and at least one of them fell back with a
heavy plunge into the water. But the captain seemed to
be almost unsupported; and the mutineers had nearly all
reached the deck, and were pressing upon him.
"Oh but this is a cruel sight!" said Browne, turning
away with a shudder. "Comrades, can we do nothing
Morton, who had been groping beneath tile sail in the
bottom of the boat, now dragged forth tile cutlasses which
Spot had insisted on placing there when he went ashore.
"Here are arms!" he exclaimed, "we are not such
boys, but that we can take a part in what is going on-let
us pull to the ship!"
"What say you?" cried Arthur, glancing inquiringly
from one to another," we can't perhaps do much, but shall
we sit here and see Mr. Erskine murdered, without trying
to help him 1"
"Friends, let us to the ship!" cried Browne with deep
emotion; "I am ready."
"And I!" gasped Max, pale with excitement; "we can
but be killed."
Can we hope to turn the scale of this unequal strife?
shall we do more than arrive at the scene of conflict in
time to experience tile vengeance of the victorious muti-
neers ---such were the thoughts that flew hurriedly through
my mind. I was entirely unaccustomed to scenes of vio-
lence and bloodshed, and my head swam, and my heart
sickened, as I gazed at the confused conflict raging on tlhe
vessel's deck, and heard the shouts and cries of the com-
batants. Yet I felt an inward recoil against the baseness
of sitting an idle spectator of such a struggle. A glance
1T TIE CONFLICT.
at the lion-hearted Erskine still maintaining the unequal
fight was an appeal to every noble and generous feeling:
it nerved me for the attempt, and though I trembled as I
grasped an oar, it was with excitement and eagerness, not
The yawl had hardly received the first impulse in the
direction of the ship, when the report of firearms was
"Merciful heavens !" cried Morton, "the captain is
down! that fiend Luerson has shot him!"
The figure which I had taken for that of Mr. Erskine
was no longer to be distinguished among the combatants;
some person was now dragged to the side of the ship to-
wards us, and thrown overboard; he sunk after a feeble
struggle; a triumphant shout followed, and then two men
were seen running up the rigging.
"There goes poor Spot up to the foretop," said Max,
pointing to one of the figures in the rigging; "he can only
gain time at the best; but it can't be that they'll kill him
in cold blood."
"Luerson is just the man to do it," answered Morton;
"the faithful fellow has stood by the captain, and that
will seal his fate. Look! it is as I said," and I could see
some one pointing what was doubtless Mr. Frazer's fowl-
ingpiece at the figure in the foretop. A parley seemed
to follow; as the result of which, the fugitive came down'
and surrendered himself. The struggle now appeared to
be over, and quiet was once more restored.
So rapidly had these events passed, and so stunning was
their effect, that it was some moments before we could
collect our thoughts, or fully realize our situation; and
we sat, silent and bewildered, gazing towards the ship.
Max was the first to break silence: "And now what's
to be done l" he said; "as to going aboard, that is of course
out of the question: the ship is nolonger our home."
"I don't know what we can do," said Morton, "except
THE CONFLICT. 1!
to pull ashore, and stand the chance of being taken off by
some vessel before we starve."
"Here is something better," cried Max eagerly, pointing
out to sea; and looking in the direction indicated, we saw
a large ship with all her sails set steering directly for us,
or so nearly so, as to make it apparent that if she held on
her present course, she must pass very near to us. Had
we not been entirely engrossed by what was taking place
immediately around us, we could not have failed to have
seen her sooner, as she must have been in sight a con-
"They have already seen her on board," said Morton,
"and that accounts lor their great hurry in getting up
anchor; they don't feel like being neighbourly, just now,
with strange vessels."
In fact there was every indication on board of our own
ship of haste, and eagerness to be gone. While some of
the men were at the capstan getting up the anchor, others
were busy in the rigging, and sail after sail was rapidly
spread to the breeze, so that by the time the anchor was
at the bows, the ship began to move slowly through the
They don't seem to consider us of much account any-
way," said Max, "they are going without so much as saying
"They may know more of the stranger than we do,"
said Arthur; "they have glasses on board: if she should
be an American man-of-war, their hurry is easily ex-
"I can't help believing that they see or suspect more in
regard to her than appears to us," said Morton, "or they
would not fail to make an attempt to recover the yawl."
"It is rapidly getting dark," said Arthur, "and I think
we had better put up the sail, and steer for the sti anger."
"Right," said Morton. "for she may possibly tack be-
fore she sees us."
SEU THE CONFLICT.
Morton and myself proceeded to step the mast, and rig
the sail; meantime Arthur got Browne's coat off, and
examined and bandaged the wound on his arm, which
had been bleeding all the while profusely: he pronounced
it to be but a trifling hurt. A breeze from the south-cast
had sprung up at sunset, and we now had a free wind to
fill our sail, as we steered directly out to sea to meet the
stranger, which was still at too great a distance to make
it probable that we had been seen by her people.
It was with a feeling of anxiety and uneasiness that I
saw the faint twilight fading away with the suddenness
usual in those latitudes, and the darkness gathering
rapidly round us. Already the cast was wrapped in
gloom, and only a faint streak of light along the western
horizon marked the spot where the sun had so recently
"How suddenly the night has come upon us," said
Arthur, who had been peering through the dusk towards
the approaching vessel in anxious silence. "0 for twenty
minutes more of daylight! I fear that she is about tack-
This announcement filled us all with dismay, and every
eye was strained towards her with intense and painful
Meantime the breeze had freshened somewhat, and we
now had rather more of it than we desired, as our little
boat was but poorly fitted to navigate the open ocean in
rough weather. Charlie began to manifest some alarm,
as we were tossed like a chip from wave to wave, and
occasionally deluged with spray by a sea bursting with a
rude shock over our bow. I had not even in the violent
storm of the preceding week experienced such a sense of
insecurity, such a feeling of helplessness, as now, when
the actual danger was comparatively slight. The waves
seemed tenfold larger and more threatening than when
viewed from the deck of a large vessel. As we sunk into
T E YOUNG AbVENTUREdtS IN TIHE 3UAT.
Charlie beg%,, o i eoc alarm, oc oe dr iou I ric1 beeo 00c to
wece, ndll occo alli deloged ,ikh 1)-.,y by sre btlueg eiI, a rude elock over
tier hole. Prgo 2o.
the trough of the sea, our horizon was contracted to the
breadth of half-a-dozen yards, and we entirely lost sight
of tioe land and of both ships.
But it was evident that we were moving through the
water with considerable velocity, and there was encour-
agement in that, for we felt confident that if the stranger
should hold on her present course but a little longer, we
should be on board of her before our safety would be
seriously endangered by the increasing breeze.
If, however, she were really tacking, our situation would
indeed be critical. A very few moments put a period to
our suspense, by confirming Arthur's opinion and our
worst fears: the stranger had altered her course; her
yards were braced round, and she was standing further
out to sea. Still, however, there would have been a pos-
sibility of reaching her, but for the failure of light, for she
had not so far changed her course but that she would have
to pass a point which we could probably gain before her.
But now it was with difficulty, and only by means of the
cloud of canvass she carried, that we could distinguish her
through the momently deepening gloom ; and with sink-
ing hearts we relinquished the last hopes connected with
her. Soon she entirely vanished from our sight, and when
we gazed anxiously around the narrow horizon that now
bounded our vision, we could nowhere distinguish the
A NIGHT OF GLOOM-MORTON'S NARRATIVE-VISIONARY
TERRORS-AN ALARMING DISCOVERY.
"O'er the deep I o'er the deep
Where the whale, and the shark, and the sword-fish sleep."
EVEN in open day the distance of a few miles would be
sufficient to sink the low shores of the island; and now
that night had so suddenly overtaken us, it might be quite
near without our being able to distinguish it.
We were even uncertain, and divided in opinion, as to
the direction in which it lay-so completely were we be-
wildered. The night was one of deep and utter gloom.
There was no moon; and not a single star shed its feeble
light over the wilderness of agitated waters upon which
our little boat was tossing. Heavy, low-hanging clouds
covered the sky; but soon even these could no longer
be distinguished; a cold damp mist, dense, and almost
palpable to the touch, crept over the ocean, and enveloped
us so closely, that it was impossible to see clearly from
one end of the yawl to the other.
The wind, however, instead of freshening, as we had
feared, died gradually away. For this we had reason to
be thankful; for though our situation that night seemed
dismal enough, yet how much more fearful would it have
been if the rage of the elements, and danger of immediate
destruction, had been added to the other circumstances of
terror by which we were surrounded I
AT SEA. 2;
As it was, however, the sea having gone down, we sup-
posed ourselves to be in no great or pressing peril. Though
miserably uncomfortable, and somewhat agitated and anxi-
ous, we yet confidently expected that the light of morning
would show us the land again.
The terrible and exciting scenes through which we had
so recently passed had completely exhausted us, and we
were too much overwhelmed by the suddenness of our
calamity, and the novel situation in which we now found
ourselves, to be greatly disposed to talk. Charlie sobbed
himself asleep in Arthur's arms; and even Nlax's usual
spirits seemed now to have quite forsaken hlii. After
the mast had been unstopped, and such preparations as
our circumstances permitted were made for passing the
night comfortably, Morton related all that lie knew of
what had taken place on shore previous to the alarm
which he had given.
I repeat the narrative as nearly as possible in his own
words, not perhaps altogether as he related it on that
night, for the circumstances were not then favourable
to a full and orderly account, but partly as I afterwards,
in various conversations, gathered the particulars lroni
"You recollect," said he, "that we separated at the
boats; Mr. Frazer and the rest of you going along the
shore towards the point, leaving Browne declaiming
Byron's address to the Ocean from the top of a coral
block, with myself and the breakers for an audience.
Shortly afterwards I strolled off towards the interior, and
left Browne lying on the sand with his pocket Shakspeare,
where we found him when we reached the boats. I kept
on inland until the forest became so dense, and was so
overgrown with tangled vines and creeping plants, that I
could penetrate no farther in that direction. In emnda-
vouring to return, I got bewildered, and at length fairly
lost, having no clear notion as to the direction of the
24 AT SEA.
beach. The groves were so thick and dark as to shut out
the light almost entirely; and I could not get a glimpse
of the sun so as to fix the points of the compass. At last
I came to an opening, large enough to let in the light, and
show which way the shadows fell. Knowing that we had
landed on the west side of the island, I could now select
my course without hesitation. It was getting late in the
afternoon, and I walked as fast as the nature of the ground
would allow, until I unexpectedly found myself at the
edge of the grove, east of the spring where the men were
at work filling the breakers. The moment I came in sight
of them, I perceived that something unusual was taking
place. The first officer and Luerson were standing oppo-
site each other, and the men, pausing from their work,
were looking on. As I inferred, Mr. Nichol had given
some order, which Luerson had refused to obey. Both
looked excited, but no words passed between them after I
reached the place. There was a pause of nearly a minute,
when Mr. Nichol advanced, as if to lay hands on Luerson,
and tle latter struck him a blow with his cooper's mallet,
which he held in his hand, and knocked him down. Before
lie had time to rise, Atoa, the Sandwich Islander, sprang
upon him, and stabbed him twice with his belt-knife. All
this passed so rapidly, that no one had a chance to inter-
"Hark !" said Browne, interrupting the narration, what
noise is that ? It sounds like the breaking of the surf upon
But the rest of us could distinguish no sound except the
washing of the waves against the boat. The eye was of
no assistance in deciding whether we were near the shore
or not, as it was impossible to penetrate the murky dark-
ness a yard in any direction.
We must be vigilant," said Arthur, "the land cannot
be far off, and we may be drifted upon it before morning."
After listening for some moments in anxious silence, we
AT SEA. 25
became satisfied that Browne had been mistaken, and
"Just as Atoe sprang upon Mr. Nichol and stabbed him,
Mr. Knight, who was the first to recover his presence of
mind, seized the murderer, and wrenched the knife from
his hand, at the same time calling on the men to secure
Luerson; but no one stirred to do so. A part seemed
confused and undecided; while others appeared to me to
have been fully prepared for what had taken place. One
man stepped forward near Luerson, and declared in a
brutal and excited manner that 'Nichol was a bloody
tyrant, and had got what lie deserved, and that no man
could blame Luerson for taking his revenge, after being
treated as he had been.' For a moment all was clamour
and confusion; then Luerson approached Mr. Knight in a
threatening manner, and bade him loose Atos, instead of
which, he held his prisoner firmly with one hand, and
warding Luerson off with the other, called on the men to
stand by their officers. Just at this moment Mr. Frazer,
with his gun on his shoulder, came out of the grove from
the side towards the shore, and to him Mr. Knight eagerly
appealed for assistance in securing the murderers of Mr.
Nichol. Pointing from the bleeding corpse at his feet to
Luerson, he said, There is the ringleader-shoot him
through the head at once, and that will finish the matter
-otherwise we shall all be murdered. Fire, I will answer
for the act I'
Frazer seemed to comprehend the situation of things
at a glance. With great presence of mind he stepped
back a pace, and bringing his gun to his shoulder, called
on Luerson to throw down his weapon and surrender him-
self, declaring that he would shoot the first man who lifted
a hand to assis, him. His manner was such as to leave no
doubt of his sincerity or his resolution. The men had
no firearms, and were staggered by the suddenness of
the thing; they stood hesitating and undecided. Mr.
26 AT SEA.
Knight seized this as a favourable moment, and advanced
upon Lucrson with the intention of securing him; and the
Islander was thus left free. At this moment I observed
the man who had denounced Mr. Nichol, and justified
Luerson, stealing round behind Frazer. I called out to
him at the top of my voice to warn him; but he did not
seem to hear. I looked for something which might serve
me for a weapon;.but there was nothing, not so much as
a broken bough within reach, and in another instant the
whole thing was over. As Knight grappled with Luerson,
he dropped the knife which lie had wrested from Atoa,
his intention evidently being to secure, and not to kill
Atoa immediately leaped forward and seized the knife,
and had his arm already raised to stab Mr. Knight in the
back, when Frazer shot him dead. At almost the same
instant Luerson struck Mr. Knight a tremendous blow on
the head with his mallet, which felled him to the earth,
stunned and lifeless. He next rushed upon Frazer, who
had fairly covered him with the muzzle of his piece, and
would inevitably have shot him, but just as lie pulled the
trigger, the man whom I had seen creeping round behind
him sprang upon him, and deranged his aim; two or three
of the others, who had stood looking on, taking no part in
the affair, now interposed, and by their assistance Frazer
was overpowered and secured. Whether they murdered
him or not, as Luerson afterwards declared, I do not know.
As soon as the struggle was over, the man who had
seconded Luerson so actively throughout (the tall dark
man, who goes by the name of the boatswain') shouted
out,' Now, then, for the ship !'
'Yes, for the ship !' cried Luerson; 'though this has
not come about just as was arranged, and has been hurried
on sooner than we expected, it is as well so as anyway,
and must be followed up. There's no one aboard but the
captain and four or five men and boys, all told: the lands-
men are all ashore, scattered over the island. We can
take her without risk-and then for a merry life at the
This revealed the designs of the mutineers, and I de-
termined to anticipate them if possible. As I started for
the beach, I was observed, and they hailed me; but with-
out paying any attention to their shouts, I ran as fast at
least as I ever ran before, until I came out of the forest,
near where you were standing."
From the words of Luerson which Morton had heard, it
was clear that the mutiny had not been a sudden and
unpremeditated act; and we had no doubt that it had
grown out of the difficulties at the Kingsmills between
him and the unfortunate Mr. Nichol.
It was quite late before we felt any disposition to sleep;
but notwithstanding the excitement, and the discomforts
of our situation, we began at length to experience the
effects of the fatigue and anxiety which we had under-
gone, and bestowing ourselves as conveniently as possible
about the boat, which furnished but slender accommoda-
tions for such a number, we bade each other the accustomed
"good-night," and one by one dropped asleep.
Knowing that we could not be far from land, and aware
of our liability to be drifted ashore during the night, it
had been decided to maintain a watch. Arthur, Morton,
and I, had agreed to divide the time between us as accu-
rately as possible, and to relieve one another in turn. The
first watch fell to Arthur, the last to me, and after exact-
ing a promise from Morton that he would not fail to
awaken me when it was fairly my turn, I lay down upon
the ceiling planks close against the side of the boat,
between which and Browne, who was next me, there was
barely room to squeeze myself.
It was a dreary night. The air was damp, and even
chilly. The weltering of the waves upon the outside of
the thin plank against which my head was pressed, made
28 AT SEA.
a dismal kind of music, and suggested vividly how frail
was the only barrier that separated us from the wide dark
waste of waters below and around.
The heavy, dirge-like swell of the ocean, though sooth-
ing, in the regularity and monotony of its sluggish motion,
sounded inexpressibly mournful.
The gloom of the night, and the tragic scenes of the day,
seemed to give character to my dreams, for they were
dark and hideous, and so terribly vivid, that I several
times awoke strangely agitated.
At one time I saw Luerson, with a countenance of super-
natural malignity, and the expression of a fiend, murder-
ing poor Frazer. At another our boat seemed drawn by
some irresistible but unseen power to the verge of a
yawning abyss, and began to descend between green-
glancing walls of water, to vast depths where undescribI
sea-monsters, never seen upon the surface, glided abolu
in an obscurity that increased their hideousness. Suddenly
the feeble light that streamed down into the gulf through
the green translucent sea seemed to be cut off; the liquid
walls closed above our heads; and we were whirled away
with the sound of rushing waters, and in utter darkness.
All this was vague and confused, and consisted of the
usual "stuff that dreams are made of." What followed
was wonderfully vivid and real: everything was as dis-
tinct as a picture, and it has left an indelible impression
upon my mind; there was something about it far more
awful than all the half-defined shapes and images of terror
that preceded it.
I seemed to be all alone in our little boat in the midst
of the sea. It was night-and what a night! not a breath
of wind rippled the glassy waters. There was no moon,
but the sky was cloudless, and the stars were out in
solemn and mysterious beauty. Everything seemed pre-
ternaturally still, and I felt oppressed by a strange sense
of loneliness: I looked round in vain for some familiar
AT SEA. 29
object, the sight of which might afford me relief. But far,
far as the eye could reach, to the last verge of the horizon,
where the gleaming sapphire vault closed down upon the
sea, stretched one wide, desolate, unbroken expanse. I
seemed to be isolated and cut off from all living things;
"Alone-alone, all, all alone!
Alone on a wide, wide sea;
So lonely 'twas, that God himself
Scarce seemed there to be;"
and there was something in this feeling, and in the uni-
versal, death-like silence, that was unutterably awful.
Then the scene changed once more. We were again on
board the ship, and in the power of the enraged mutineers,
about to suffer whatever their vengeance might impel
them to inflict. Poor Spot was swinging, a livid corpse,
at one of the yard-arms. Browne was bound to the main-
mast, while Luerson and his fiendish crew were exhaust-
ing their ingenuity in torturing him. The peculiar expres-
sion of his mild, open countenance, distorted by pain, went
to my heart, and the sound of that familiar and friendly
voice, now hoarse and broken, and quivering with agony,
thrilled me with horror. As he besought his tormentors
to kill him at once, I thought that I kneeled to Luerson,
and seconded the entreaty-the greatest favour that could
be hoped from him. The rest of us were doomed to walk
the plank. Morton was stern and silent; Max pale and
sorrowful; his arm was round my neck, and he murmured
that life was sweet, and that it was a hard and terrible
thing to die-to die so! Arthur, calm and collected,
cheered and encouraged us; and his face seemed like the
face of an angel, as he spoke sweetly and solemnly of the
goodness and the love of God, and bade us put our whole
trust and hope in Christ our Saviour. His earnest words
and serene look soothed and strengthened us: we also
became calm and almost resigned. There was no abject
30 AT SEA.
fear, no useless cries or supplications to our foes for
mercy; but the solemn sense of the awfulness of death was
mingled with a sweet and sustaining faith in God, and
Christ, and immortality. Hand in hand, like brothers, we
were preparing to take the fearful plunge-when I started
Even the recollection of our real situation was insuffi-
cient to impair the deep sense of relief which I experienced.
My first impulse was to thank God that these were but
dreams; and if I had obeyed the next, I should have em-
braced heartily each of my slumbering companions, for in
the first confusion of thought and feeling, my emotions
were very. much what they would naturally have been
had the scenes of visionary terror in which we seemed to
have just participated together been real.
Morton was at his post, and I spoke to him, scarcely
knowing or caring what I said. All I wanted was to hear
his voice, to revive the sense of cothpanionship, and so
escape the painful impressions which even yet clung to me.
He said that he had just commenced his watch, Arthur
having called him but a few moments before. The night
was still louring and overcast, but there was less wind
and sea than when I first lay down. I proposed to relieve
him at once, but he felt no greater inclination to sleep
than myself, and we watched together until morning.
The two or three hours immediately before dawn seemed
terribly long. Just as the first gray light appeared in the
east Arthur joined us. A dense volume of vapour which
rested upon the water, and contributed to the obscurity in
which we were enveloped, now gathered slowly into
masses, and floated upward as the day advanced, gradually
clearing the prospect; and we kept looking out for the
island, in the momentary expectation of seeing it loom up
before us through the mist. But when, as the light in-
creased, and the fog rolled away, the boundaries of our
vision rapidly enlarged, an'd still no land could be seen,
THE CONSULTATION. 31
we began to feel seriously alarmed. A short period of
intense and painful anxiety followed, during which we
continued alternately gazing, and waiting for more light,
and again straining our aching eyes in every direction,
and still in vain.
At last it became evident that we had insome manner
drifted completely away from the island. The appalling
conviction could no longer be resisted. There we were,
lost and helpless on the open ocean, in our chip of a boat,
without provisions for a single day, or, to speak more
definitely, without a morsel of bread or a drop of water.
OUT OF SIGHT OF LAND-SLENDER RESOURCES-WHAT'S TO
BE DONE I
"How rapidly, how rapidly we ride along the sea I
The morning is all sunshine, the wind is blowing free;
The billows are all sparkling, and bounding in the light,
Like creatures in whose sunny veins the blood is running bright."
MORTON alone still refused to relinquish the hope that by
broad daylight we should yet be able to make out the
island. He persisted in pronouncing it wholly incredible
that we had made during the night a distance sufficient
to sink the land, which was but three or four miles off at
the utmost, when we were overtaken by darkness; he
could not understand, he said, how such a thing was
Arthur accounted for it by supposing that we had got
3 TIIE CONSULTATION.
into the track of one of the ocean-currents that exist in
those seas, especially among the islands, many of which
run at the rate of from two to three miles an hour.
This seemed the more probable from the fact, that we
were to the west of the island when we lost sight of it,
and that the great equatorial current which traverses the
Pacific and Indian oceans has a prevailing westerly course,
though among the more extensive groups and clusters of
islands it is so often deflected hither and thither by the
obstacles which it encounters, or turned upon itself, in
eddies and counter-currents, that no certain calculations
can be made respecting it. Morton, however, did not
consider this supposition sufficient to explain the difficulty
"I should judge," said he, that in a clear day such an
island might be seen fifteen or twenty miles, and we can-
not have drifted so great a distance."
"It might perhaps be seen," said Arthur, "as far as
that from the mast-head of a ship, or even from her deck,
but not from a small boat hardly raised above the surface
of the water. At our present level, eight or ten miles
would be enough to sink it completely."
At length, when it was broad day, and, from the appear-
ance of the eastern sky, the sun was just about to rise,
Morton stepped the mast and climbed to the top, in the
hope that from that additional elevation, slight as it was,
he might catch a glimpse of land. There was by this time
light enough, as he admitted, to see anything that could
be seen at all; and after making a deliberate survey of our
whole horizon, he was fully convinced that we had drifted
completely away from the island. "I give it up," he said,
as he slid down the mast; "we are at sea, beyond all
Presently Max awoke. He cast a quick, surprised look
around, and at first seemed greatly shocked. He speedily
recovered himself, however, and after another and closer
scrutiny of the horizon, thought that he detected an ap-
THE CONSULTATION. 33
pearance like that of land in the south. For a moment
there was again the flutter of excited hopo, as every cyo
was turned eagerly in that direction; but it soon subsided.
A brief examination satisfied us all that what we saw
was but a low bank of clouds lying against the sky.
"This really begins to look serious," said Max; "what
are we to do 1"
"It strikes me," replied Morton, "that we are pretty
much relieved from the necessity of considering that
question; our only part for the present seems to be a
"I can't fully persuade myself that this is real," said
Max; "it half seems like an ugly dream, from which we
should awake by-and-by, and draw a long breath at the
relief of finding it no more than a dream."
"We are miserably provisioned for a sea-voyage," said
Morton; "but I believe the breaker is half full of water;
without that, we should indeed be badly off."
"There is not a drop in it," said Arthur, shaking his
head, and he lifted the breaker, and shook it lightly: it
was quite empty.
He now proceeded to force open the locker, in the hope
of finding there something that might be serviceable to us;
but its, entire contents consisted of a coil of fine rope,
some pieces of rope-yar, an empty quart-bottle, and an
old and battered hatchet-head.
Meanwhile Browne, without a trace of anxiety upon his
upturned countenance, and Charlie, who was nestled close
beside him, continued to sleep soundly, in happy uncon-
sciousness of our alarming situation.
"Nothing ever interferes with the soundness of Browne's
sleep, or the vigour of his appetite," said Max, contem-
plating his placid slumbers with admiration. "I should
be puzzled to decide whether sleeping, eating, or dra-
matic recitation, is his forte; it certainly lies between the
34 THE CONSULTATION.
"Poor fellow!" said Morton, "from present appear-
ances, and the state of our supplies, he will have to
take it all out in sleeping for some time to come, as it is
to be presumed he'll hardly feel like spouting."
"One would think that what happened yesterday, and
the condition of things as we left them last night, would
be enough to disturb one's nerves somewhat; yet you
see how little it affects him-and I now predict that the
first thing he will say on opening his eyes will be about
the means of breaking his long fast."
"I don't understand how you can go on in that strain,
Max," said Arthur, looking up in a surprised manner, and
shaking his head disapprovingly.
"Why, I was merely endeavouring to do my share to-
wards keeping our spirits up; but I suppose any spirits
'got up' under the present circumstances must be some-
what forced, and as my motives don't seem to be properly
appreciated, I will renounce the unprofitable attempt."
The sun rose in a clear sky, and gave promise of a hot
day. There was, however, a cool and refreshing breeze,
that scattered the spray from the foaming ridges of the
waves, and occasionally showered us, not unpleasantly,
with the fine liquid particles. A sea breaking over our
bow, dashed a bucketful of water into Browne's face,
and abruptly disturbed his slumbers.
"Good-morning, comrades !" said he, sitting up, and
looking about him with a perplexed and bewildered air.
"But how is this Ah! I recollect it all now. So, then,
we are really out of sight of land 1"
"There is no longer any doubt of that," said Arthur,
"and it is now time for us to decide what we shall do-
our chance of falling in with a ship will be quite as good,
and that of reaching land will of course be much better,
if, instead of drifting like a log upon the water, we put up
our sail, and steer in almost any direction; though I think
there is a choice."
"Of course there is a choice," said Morton; "the island
cannot be at any great distance ; and the probability of
our being able to find it again is so much greater than
that of making any other land, that we ought to steer in
the direction in which we have good reason to think it
lies-that is, to the east."
"The wind for the last twelve hours has been pretty
nearly south," observed Arthur, "and has probably had
some effect upon our position ; we had better, therefore,
steer a little south of east, which with this breeze will be
To this all assented, and the sail was hoisted, and the
boat's head put in the direction agreed upon, each of us,
except Charlie, sailing and steering her in turn. There
was quite as much wind as our little craft could sail with
to advantage, and without danger. As it filled her bit of
canvass, she careered before it, leaping and plunging from
wave to wave in a manner that sometimes seemed peril-
ous. The bright sky above us, the blue sea gleaming in
the light of the morning, over which we sped; the dry,
clear atmosphere (now that the sun was up, and the mist
dissipated), the fresh breeze, without which we must have
suffered intensely from the heat, together with our rapid
and bounding motion, had an exhilarating effect, in spite
of the gloomy anticipations that suggested themselves.
"After all," said Max, "why need we take such a dismal
view of the matter 1 We have a fine staunch little boat, a
good breeze, and islands all around us. Besides, we are
in the very track of the beche do mer and sandalwood
traders. It would be strange, indeed, if we should fail to
meet some of them soon. In fact, if it were not for think-
ing of poor Frazer, and of the horrible events of yesterday
(which, to be sure, are enough to make one sad), I should
be disposed to look upon the whole affair as a sort of
holiday adventure-something to tell of when we get
home, and to talk over pleasantly together twenty years
"If we had a breaker of water and a keg of biscuit,"
said Morton, "and could then be assured of fair weather
for a week, I might be able to take that view of it; as it
is, I confess that to me it has anything but the aspect of
a holiday adventure."
When Charlie awoke, Arthur endeavoured to soothe his
alarm, by explaining to him that we had strong hopes of
being able to reach the island again, and mentioning the
various circumstances which rendered such a hope reason-
able. The little fellow did not, however, seem to be as
much troubled as might have been expected. He either
reposed implicit confidence in the resources or the for-
tunes of his companions, or else did not at all realize the
perils to which we were exposed. But this could not last
That which I knew Arthur had been painfully antici-
pating came at last. Charlie, who had been asking Mor-
ton a multitude of questions as to the events of the previ-
ous day, suddenly said that he was very thirsty, and asked,
in the most unsuspecting manner, for a drink of water.
When he learned that the breaker was empty, and that
we had not so much as a drop of water with us, some
notion of our actual situation seemed to dawn upon him,
and he became all at once grave and silent.
Hour after hour dragged slowly on, until the sun was
in the zenith, with no change for the better in our affairs.
It was now clear that we must give up the hope of reach-
ing the island which we had left, for it w s certain that
we had sailed farther since morning than the boat could
possibly have been drifted during the night by the wind
or the current, or both combined. Our calculations at the
outset must therefore have been erroneous, and we had
not been sailing in the right direction. If so, it was too
late to correct the mistake; we could not regain our
starting-point, in order to steer from it another course.
We now held a second consultation.
THE CONSULTATION. 37
Although we had but a general notion of our geogra-
phical position, we knew that we were in the neighbour-
hood of scattered groups of low coral islands. From the
Kingsiills we were to have sailed directly for Canton, and
Max, Morton, and myself, would before now in all proba-
bility have commenced our employment in the American
factory there, but for Captain Erskine's sudden resolution
to take the responsibility of returning to the Samoan
Group, with the double object of rescuing the crew of the
wrecked bark, and completing his cargo, which, accord-
ing to the information received from the master of the
whaler, there would be no difficulty in doing. From
Upolu we had steered a north-westerly course, and it was
on the fourth or fifth day after leaving it that we had
reached the island where the mutiny took place, and which
Mr. Erskine claimed as a discovery of his own. Its lati-
tude and longitude had of course been calculated, but none
of us learned the result, or at anyrate remembered it.
We knew only that we were at no great distance from the
Kingsmills, and probably to the south-west of them.
Arthur was confident, from conversations had with Mr.
Frazer, and from the impressions left on his mind by his
last examination of the charts, that an extensive cluster of
low islands, scattered over several degrees of latitude, lay
just to the south-east of us.
It was accordingly determined to continue our present
course as long as the wind should permit, which there was
reason to fear might be but a short time, as easterly winds
are the prevailing ones within the tropics as near the
line as we supposed ourselves to be.
TIIE SECOND WATCIT-AN EVIL OMEN-TIIE WHITE SIARK-
A BREAKFAST LOST.
"All in a hot and copper sky
The bloody sun at noon
Right up above the mlst did stand,
No bigger than the moon."
DURING the remainder of the day the wind continued fair,
and we held on our course, steering by the sun, and keep-
ing a vigilant look-out in every direction. But the night
set in, and we had yet seen no appearance of land, no
speck in the distance which could be mistaken for a sail,
not even a wandering sea-bird or a school of flying-fish-
nothing to break the dead monotony of the briny waste
we were traversing. As I sat at the helm, taking my turn
in sailing the boat, and watched the sun go down, and
saw the darkness gathering over the sea, a feeling nearly
akin to despair took possession of me. In vain I strove
to take an encouraging and hopeful view of our circum-
stances. The time within which relief must come in order
to be effectual was so short, that I could not help feeling
that the probabilities were strongly against us. I could
not shut my eyes to the fact, that dangers, imminent and
real, such as we had read and talked of, without ever half
realizing, or dreaming that they would one day fall to our
own lot, now pressed upon us, and threatened us close at
hand. I knew that those fearful tales of shipwreck and
starvation were only too true-that men, lost at sea liko
TIE CALM. .9
ourselves, had pined day after day, without a morsel of
food or a drop of water, until they had escaped, in stupor
or delirium, all consciousness of suffering. And worse
even than this-too horrible to be thought or spoken of-
I knew something of the dreadful and disgusting expe-
dients to prolong life which have sometimes been resorted
to by famishing wretches. I had read how the pangs of
hunger, and the still fiercer torments of thirst, had seemed
to work a dire change even in kind and generous natures,
making men wolfish, so that they slew and fed upon each
other. Now all that was most revolting and inhuman in
what I had heard or read of such things rose vividly before
me, and I shuddered at the growing probability that expe-
riences like these might be reserved for us. Why not
for us," I thought, as well as for the many others the
records of whose terrible fate I have perused with scarcely
more emotion than would be excited by a tale of imagi-
nary suffering, and the still greater number whose story
has never been recorded. We have already been con-
ducted many steps on this fearful path, and no laws of
nature will be stayed, no ordinary rules of God's dealing
violated, on our behalf. No inevitable necessity requires
the complexion of our future to correspond and harmonize
with that of our past lives. This feeling, which seems to
assure me that such things cannot happen to us, is but one
of the cheats and illusions of a shrinking and self-pitying
spirit. All the memories that cluster about a happy child-
hood, all the sweet associations of home and kindred,
afford no guaranty against the new and bitter experiences
which seem about to open upon us."
Such were the thoughts that began to disquiet my own
mind. As to my companions, Morton seemed less anxious
and excited than any of the others. During the evening
he speculated in a cool, matter-of-fact manner, upon our
chances of reaching an island, or meeting a ship, before
being reduced to the last extremity. le spoke of the
number of traders that frequent the islands for tortoise-
shell, mother-of pearl, sandalwood, becho do mer, &c.; the
whalers that come in pursuit of the cachelot, or sperm
%hale; the vessels that resort there for fruit, or supplies
f wood and water; the vast number of islands scattered
rough these seas; from all which he finally concluded
that the chances were largely in ourfavour, If, however,
we should fail of immediate relief in this shape, he thought
it probable that we should have opportunities of catching
fish, or sea-birds, and so prolonging life for many days.
He talked the whole matter over in such a calm, sober,
unexcited manner, furnishing facts and reasons for every
opinion, that I felt some confidence in his conclusions.
Brown, though quite composed and self-possessed, had,
from the moment when he discovered that we were out of
sight of land, taken the most serious view of our situation.
He seemed to have made up his mind for the worst, and
was abstracted, and indisposed to converse. I knew that
the anxiety which Arthur evinced was not mainly on his
own account. It did not withdraw his attention from
what was passing, or diminish his interest in it. Far from
being gloomy or abstracted, he was active and watchful,
and spoke with heartiness and cheerfulness. His mental
disquietude only appeared in a certain softness and tremor
of his voice; especially when speaking to Charlie, who,
as the night drew on, asked him over and over again, at
short intervals, "Don't you think, Arthur, that we shall
certainly find land to-morrow !" This was truly distress-
As to Max, his feelings rose and fell capriciously, and
without any apparent cause; he was sanguine or depressed,
not from a consideration of all our circumstances, and a
favourable or unfavorable conclusion drawn therefrom,
but according as this view or that, for the moment, im-
pressed his mind. IIe rendered no reasons for his hopes
or his fears. At one moment you would judge, from his
manner and conversation, that we were indeed out upon
some "holiday excursion," with no serious danger impend-
ing over us; the next, without anything to account for
the change, he would appear miserably depressed and
Soon after sunset the moon rose-pale and dim at first,
but shining out with a clearer and brighter radiance as
the darkness increased. The wind held steadily from the
same quarter, and it was determined to continue through
the night the arrangement for taking charge of the sailing
of the boat in turn. Browne and Mlax insisted on sharing
between themselves the watch for the entire night, saying
that they had taken no part in that of the one previous,
and that it would be useless to divide the twelve hours of
darkness into more than two watches. This was finally
agreed upon, the wind being so moderate, that the same
person could steer the yawl and manage the sail without
Before lying down, I requested Max, who took the first
turn, to awake me at the same time with Browne, a part
of whose watch I intended to share. I fell asleep, looking
up at the moon and the light clouds sailing across the sky,
and listening to the motion of the water beneath the boat.
At first I slumbered lightly, without losing a sort of
dreamy consciousness, so that I heard Max humming over
to himself fragments of tunes and odd verses of old songs,
and even knew when le shifted his position in the stern
from one side to the other. At length I must have fallen
into a deep sleep : I do not know how long it had lasted
(it seemed to me but a short time), when I was aroused
by an exclamation from Max, as I at first supposed; but on
sitting up, I saw that Browne was at the helm, while Max
was sleeping at my side. On perceiving that I was awake,
Browne, from whom the exclamation had proceeded,
pointed to something in the water just astern. Following
the direction of his finger with my eye, I saw, just beneath
the surface, a large ghastly-looking white shark, gliding
stealthily along, and apparently following the boat.
Browne said that he had first noticed it about half an
hour before, since which time it had steadily followed us,
occasionally making a leisurely circuit round the boat,
and then dropping astern again. A moment ago, having
fallen into a doze at the hehn, and awaking with a start,
lie found himself leaning over the gunwale, and the shark
just at his elbow. This had startled him, and caused the
sudden exclamation by which I had been aroused. I
shuddered at his narrow escape, and I acknowledge that
the sight of this hideous and formidable creature, stealing
along in our wake, and manifesting an intention to keep
us company, caused me some uneasy sensations. He
swam with his dorsal fin almost at the surface, and his
broad nose scarcely three feet from the rudder. His
colour rendered him distinctly visible.
What a spectre of a fish it is," said Browne, with his
pallid, corpse-like skin, and noiseless motion; he has no
resemblance to any of the rest of his kind that I have ever
seen. You know what the sailors would say if they
should see him dogging us in this way; Old Crosstrees
or Spot would shake their heads ominously, and set us
down as a doomed company."
"Aside from any such superstitious notions, lie is an
unpleasant and dangerous neighbour, and we must be
circumspect while he is prowling about."
"It certainly won't do to doze at the helm," resumed
Browne: "I consider that I have just now had a really
narrow escape. I was leaning quite over the gunwale; a
lurch of the boat would have thrown me overboard, and
then there would have been no chance for me."
There would not, in fact, have been the shadow of a
"Even as it was," resumed he, "if this hideous-looking
monster had been as active and vigilant as some of his
THE CALM. 43
tribe, it would have fared badly with me. I have heard
of their seizing persons standing on the shore, where the
water was deep enough to let them swim close in; and
Spot tells of a messmate of his, on one of his voyages in a
whaler, who was carried off while standing entirely out
of water on the carcase of a whale, which lie was assisting
in cutting up, as it lay alongside the ship. The shark
threw himself upon the carcase, five or six yards from
where the man was busy, worked himself slowly along
the slippery surface until within reach of his victim,
knocked him off into the water, and then sliding off him-
self, seized and devoured him."
Picking my way carefully among the sleepers, who
covered the bottom of the yawl, I sat down beside Browno
in the stern, intending to share the remainder of his watch.
It was now long past midnight; fragments of light clouds
were scattered over the sky, frequently obscuring the
moon; and the few stars that were visible twinkled faintly
with a cold and distant light. The Southern Cross, by
far the most brilliant constellation of that hemisphere,
was conspicuous among the clusters of feebler luminaries.
Well has it been called "the glory of the southern skies."
Near the zenith, and second only to the Cross in brilliancy,
appeared the Northern Crown, consisting of seven large
stars, so disposed as to form the outline of two-thirds of
an oval. Of the familiar constellations of the northern
hemisphere, scarcely one was visible except Orion and the
At length the moon descended behind a bank of silvery
clouds piled up along the horizon. The partial obscurity
that ensued only added to the grandeur of the midnight
scene, as we sat gazing silently abroad upon the confused
mass of swelling waters stretching away into the gloom.
But if the scene was grand, it was also desolate: we two
were perhaps the only human beings, for many hundreds
of miles, who looked forth upon it. Our companions
44 THE CALM.
were wrapped in unconsciousness, and their deep and
regular breathing attested the soundness of their slumbers.
As the light failed more and more, and the shadows
deepened, the sea began to assume a beautiful and striking
appearance, gleaming in places with a bluish lambent
light, and exhibiting, where the water was most agitated,
large luminous patches. Thin waves of flame curled over
our bow, and whenever a sea broke upon it, it seemed as
though the boat was plunging through surges of fire. A
long brilliant line, thickly strewn on each side with little
globules, of the colour of burning coals, marked our wake.
But the shark, which still followed close behind our
keel, presented by far the most singular and striking
spectacle. He seemed to be surrounded by a luminous
medium; and his nose, his dorsal and side fins, and his
tail, each had attached to them slender jets of phosphoric
fire. Towards morning this brilliant appearance began to
fade, and soon vanished altogether. By this time I found
it difficult to keep my eyes open longer, and leaving
Browne to finish his watch alone, I resumed my place on
the ceiling planks, and in spite of the hardness of my bed,
which caused every bone in my body to ache, soon slept
soundly. When I again awoke it was long after sunrise, and
we were lying completely becalmed. A school of large
fish were pursuing their gambols at a short distance, and
Browne was rowing cautiously toward them, while Arthur
and Morton stood prepared to attack them with their
cutlasses as soon as we should get within striking dis-
tance. We had got almost among them, and were just
beginning to congratulate ourselves upon their apparent
indifference to our approach, when they all at once scat-
tered in every direction, with manifest signs of terror.
The cause of this sudden movement was not long con-
cealed: a brace of sharks rose in their very midst; one
was visible but for a moment, as he rolled over to seize
his prey; the other, less successful in securing a victim,
THE CALM. 45
shot past us like an arrow in pursuit of a large division of
the fugitives. Soon after, both of them were seen playing
around the boat. They belonged to the species known as
the tiger shark, and bore no resemblance to our ghastly
visitor of the preceding evening. By the consternation
which their sudden appearance had produced among the
lesser fishes, they had in all probability robbed us of our
breakfast. Morton, with his characteristic enterprise, sug-
gested an attack upon one of them by way of reprisals;
but before any measures for that purpose could be taken,
they disappeared, leaving us with no other resource than
to await our fate with such patience and resignation as
we could command. The wind having entirely failed,
there was nothing that we could do to change our situa-
tion-absolutely nothing. This forced inaction, th no
occupation for mind or body, no object of effo- i, con-
tributed to enhance whatever was painful in our condition.
by leaving us to brood over it. The dead calm which had
fallen upon the sea seemed all that was necessary to com-
plete our misery. We were all stiff and sore, from the
exceedingly uncomfortable sleeping accommodations of the
last two nights; but this was a comparatively trifling evil.
Charlie had a severe cold, and his eyes were inflamed and
bloodshot; he exhibited also strong symptoms of fever.
He was nevertheless silent and uncomplaining, and came
and sat down quietly by the side of Arthur in the stern.
As the day advanced, the heat became dreadful. We
had not suffered much from it the day before, on account
of the fresh breeze which had prevailed; but now not a
breath of air was stirring, and the glassy sea reflected back
upon us the scorching rays of the sun with increased in-
tensity. Towards noon it exceeded anything I had ever
experienced. The whole arch of the heavens glowed with
a hot and coppery glare. It seemed as though, instead of
one sun, there were ten thousand, covering all the sky,
and blending their rays into a broad canopy of fire. The
46 THE CALM.
air was like that of an oven: the water had no coolness,
no refreshing quality; it was tepid and stagnant: no
living thing was to be seen near the surface, for life could
not be sustained there; and the fishes, great and small,
kept themselves in the cooler depths far below. Almost
stifled by the heat, we began to experience the first real
and extreme suffering that most of us had ever known.
At Arthur's suggestion we disengaged the now useless
sail from the mast, and contrived a kind of awning, by
fastening two of the oars upright in the boat, with the
mast extcieding between them, throwing the sail over the
latter, and securing the ends to tle gunwales. This,
although it could not protect us from the sultry and
suffocating air, warded off the blistering beams of the sun,
and during the greater part of the day we lay crouched
beneath it, a miserable company, one or another of us
crawling out occasionally to take a survey. Towards the
close of the afternoon my sufferings from thirst grew
absolutely intolerable, and amounted to torment. My
blood became fevered; my brain seemed on fire; my
shrunk and shrivelled tongue was like a dry stick in my
mouth. The countenances of my companions, their blood-
shot eyes, and cracked and swollen lips, showed what they
were undergoing. Charlie lay in the bottom of the boat,
with his eyes shut, enduring all with as much fortitude as
the rest of us, except that now and then a half-suppressed
moan escaped him.
It was quite clear that relief, in order to be of any avail,
must be speedy.
A WELCOME PERIL-THE ALBACORE AND THEIR PREY- A
"Eternal Providence, exceeding thought,
Where none appears, can make itself a way."
WHILE lying crouched under the sail, almost gasping for
breath, near the middle, as I suppose, of that terrible after-
noon, I all at once became sensible of a perceptible cool-
ing of the atmosphere, and a sudden decrease of light.
Looking out to discover the cause of this change, I per-
ceived that the sky was overcast, and that a light unsteady
breeze from the north-west had sprung up. Knowing
that within the tropics, and near the line, winds from that
quarter frequently precede a storm, and that great ex-
tremes of heat are often succeeded by violent gales, I
observed with apprehension dark masses of clouds gather-
ing in the north. It would not require a tempest to
insure our destruction; for our little craft could not live
a moment even in such a gale as would be attended by
no danger to a staunch ship with plenty of sea-room.
The temperature had fallen many degrees, though the
wind was still moderate and unsteady, ranging from west
to north-east. The sun was completely obscured, so that
the awning was no longer needed, and we pulled it down,
in order the more fully to enjoy the breeze, and the deli-
cious coolness of the darkened atmosphere, to the grate-
fulness of which not even our awakening apprehensions
could render us insensible.
While observing the strange appearance of the sky, and
48 A CHANGE.
tle preparations for a storm which seemed to be going on
in the north and west, Morton espied a troop of flying-fish
a hundred yards or so to windward. Fluttering feebly a
short distance in the air, they would drop into the sea, soon
emerging, however, for a fresh flight; thus, alternately
swimming and flying, they were steadily approaching;
and from their rapid and confused motions, it was evident
that they were hard pressed by some of the numerous and
greedy persecutors of their helpless race, from whom
they were struggling to escape. Presently a glittering
albacore shot from the water, close in the track of the
fugitives, descending again in the graceful curve peculiar
to his active and beautiful, but rapacious tribe. Another
and another followed, their golden scales flashing in the
light, as they leaped clear of the water, sometimes two or
three together. We hastily made ready to attack both
pursuers and pursued the instant they should come within
reach. The course of the chase brought them directly
towards us, until the hunted fishes fell in a glittering
shower, so near, that I feared they might pass under the
boat before rising again; but they came to the surface
close beside us, and as they fluttered into the air, we
knocked down six or seven of them, and caught a number
more that dropped into the boat. Morton and Max,
ambitious of larger game, devoted their attention to the
albacore, and slashed and thrust furiously at such as
came within reach of their cutlasses; which many of them
did. Some darted under the boat, instead of sheering
round it; and one enormous fellow, miscalculating, in his
haste, our draught of water, must have scraped all the
fins off his back against the keel as he performed this
manoeuvre, for the shock of the contact caused the yawl
to tremble from stem to stern. But such was the marvel-
lous celerity of their movements, that though they came
within easy striking distance, all the hostile demonstra-
tions of Max and Morton proved futile.
A CHANGE. 49
The flying-fish which had been taken were divided and
apportioned with scrupulous exactness, and devoured with
very little ceremony. The only dressing or preparation
bestowed upon them consisted simply in stripping off the
long shining pectoral fins or wings (they serve as both),
without paying much attention to such trifling matters as
scales, bones, and the lesser fins. Max, indeed, began to
nibble rather fastidiously at first at this raw food, which a
minute before had been so full of life and activity; but
his appetite improved as he proceeded, and he at last so
far got the better of his scruples, as to leave nothing of
his share except the tails, and very little even of those.
Hunger, in fact, made this repast, which would have been
revolting under ordinary circumstances, not only accept-
able, but positively delicious.
Meantime the dark mass of clouds in the north had ex-
tended itself, and drawn nearer to us. Another tempest
seemed to be gathering in the west, while in the south a
violent thunder-storm appeared to be actually raging: the
lightning in that quarter was vivid and almost incessant,
but we could hear no thunder, the storm being still at a
Immediately around us all was yet comparatively calm,
but the heavy clouds, gathering on three sides, seemed
gradually converging towards a common centre; a short,
abrupt, cross sea began to form, and the water assumed a
glistening inky hue. There was something peculiar and
striking in the appearance of the clouds surrounding us;
they seemed to rest upon the surface of the ocean, and
towered upward like a dark wall to the skies. Their upper
extremities were torn and irregular, and long narrow
fragments, like giant arms, streamed out from the main
body, and extended over us, as if beckoning each other to
a nearer approach, and threatening to unite their gloomy
array overhead, and shut out the light of day. As they
drew nearer to one another, the lightning began to dart
5( A CHANGE.
from cloud to cloud, while the most terrific peals of thun-
der that I have ever heard rolled and reverberated on
every side. We appeared to be surrounded by storms,
some of which were very near, for the deep crash of the
thunder followed close upon the vivid lightning that
flashed in the south and west. Still, the narrow space of
sky directly overhead was clear, and the war of elements
which was raging all around did not extend to our imme-
diate neighbourhood. Against the dark sides of the cloudy
pavilion that encompassed us, the sharp, zig-zag lines of
lightning, as they ran from the sky to the ocean, shone
out with a blinding glare. A single half-hour had sufficed
to change everything about us. The brazen burning sky
was transformed into a cold, clear expanse, of a bluish-
black. The sea, no longer stagnant and glassy, was fretted
by short inky waves, with creamy crests, that gave it
altogether a new aspect. The air was now fresh and cool,
and the wind rising and falling fitfully, at one moment
scarcely lifted our hair or stirred our garments, and the
next tore off the entire crests of waves, and scattered them
over us in a shower of spray. For nearly an hour we
remained apprehensive that the wind might increase to a
gale. At the end of that time it came gradually round to
the south-east, growing steady, but by no means violent,
and the storms moved off in a westerly direction. One
heavy cloud, as it slowly passed over towards that quarter,
discharged a grateful shower of rain. We hastily spread
the sail and some of our garments, to gather the precious
drops. The shower lasted only a few minutes, but during
that time it rained briskly. I never shall forget my sen-
sations as I stood with face upturned, while the big drops,
more delicious than ambrosia, came pelting down. It was
far better and more strengthening than food, or any medi-
cine or cordial could have been, and seemed to infuse fresh
life into us all. When it was over, we wrung out from
the saturated canvass, and from our clothing, water enough
TOKENS OF LAND. 51
to mitigate for the time, though by no means to satisfy,
the raging thirst from which we had suffered so intensely.
Arthur had at first taken out of the locker the large
bottle which had been found there, in the hope of being
able to hoard up a small supply for the future; but there
was not a drop of surplus for such a purpose, and he was
obliged to put it back again empty as before.
TOKENS OF LAND.
THE CENTRE OF THE SPHERE--TIE MYSTERIOUS SOUND-
"Thou glorious sea! before me gleaming,
Oft wilt thou float in sunset pride,
And often shall I hear in dreaming
Thy resonance at evening tide!"
AT sunset, every trace of the storms by which we had
been so recently encompassed had vanished: the eky, ex-
cept along the western horizon, was without a cloud: not
a breath of wind ruffled the sea, and we lay once more
This was our third night at sea; though to me, at least,
it seemed that many days had passed since the mutiny
and the immediately succeeding occurrences. It is a night
which I shall not soon forget; the impression of its almost
unearthly beauty is still fresh and vivid, and haunts me
like a vision of fairyland. At this moment, if I but close
my eyes, the whole scene rises before me with the distinct-
52 TOKENS OF LAND.
ness of a picture; though one would naturally suppose
that persons situated as we then were could scarcely have
been in a state of mind congenial to the reception of such
The transition from early twilight to the darkness of
night was beautiful beyond description. The array of
clouds in the west just after sunset, their forms, arrange-
ment, and colours, with the manner in which they blended
and melted into one another, composed a spectacle of the
magnificence of which neither language nor the art of the
painter can convey any adequate idea. Along the edge of
the horizon stretched a broad tract of the deepest crimson,
reflecting far upon the waters a light that gave them the
appearance of an ocean of blood. Above this was a band
of vivid flame colour; then one of a clear translucent green,
perfectly peculiar, unlike that of any leaf or gem, and of
surpassing delicacy and beauty. This gradually melted,
through many fine gradations, into a sea of liquid amber,
so soft and golden, that the first large stars of evening
floating in its transparent depths could scarcely be dis-
tinguished, as they twinkled mildly amid the flood of
kindred radiance. A narrow streak of pearly blue bounded
this amber sea with its islands of light, and divided it
from the deeper blue of the wide vault above. During
the earlier part of this glorious display the eastern sky, as
if in rivalry of the splendour of the opposite quarter of
the heavens, was spanned by two concentric rainbows,
describing complete semicircles, with their bases resting
upon the sea. In the smaller and interior bow all the
colours were beautifully distinct; in the outer and larger
one they were less brilliant, and arranged in an order the
reverse of that which is usual, the violet being the lowest
instead of the red. The rainbows vanished with the sun,
and soon afterwards the fiery glow in the west began to
fade. But the scene only changed its character without
losing any of its beauty. So smooth was the sea on that
TOKENS OF LAND. N3
night, that the whole dome of the sky, with every sailing
cloud-flake, and every star, was perfectly reflected in it.
Until the moon rose, the line where the sky joined the
ocean was indistinctly defined, and the two were so blended
together, that we actually seemed suspended in the centre
of a vast sphere; the heavens, instead of terminating at
the horizon, extended, spangled with stars, on every side
-below as well as above and around. The illusion was
wonderfully perfect: you almost held your breath as you
glanced downward, and could hardly refrain from starting
nervously, so strong and bewildering was the appearance
of hanging poised in empty space.
Charlie, who had been sitting for a long time with his
hands supporting his head, and his elbows resting upon
Arthur's knee, gazing out upon the ocean, suddenly looked
up into his face, and said-
"Arthur, I want you to tell me truly-do you still be-
lieve that we shall be saved-do you hope so now, as you
did yesterday, or do you think that we must perish 1"
"Do you suppose that I would try to deceive you,
Charlie," said Arthur, "that you ask me so earnestly to
tell you truly "
"No, but I feared you would not perhaps tell me the
worst, thinking that I could not bear it: and I suspected
to-night that you spoke more cheerfully than you felt, on
my account. But I am not afraid, dear Arthur, to know
the truth, and do not hide it from me! I will try to bear
patiently, with you and with the rest, whatever comes
"I would not deceive you about such a matter, Charlie.
I should not think it right, though you are so young. But
I can know nothing certainly. We are in the hands of
God. I have told you all the reasons we have to hope;
we have the same reasons still. Only a few hours ago,
the sea supplied us with food, and the clouds with drink:
why may we not hope for future supplies according to our
54 TOKENS OF LAND.
need? I think we yet have more reason to hope than to
"Did you ever know or hear of such a thing," inquired
Charlie after a pause, "as a company of boys like us starv-
ing at sea I"
"I do not remember that I have, under circumstances at
all similar to ours," answered Arthur.
"It is too dreadful to believe! Is not God our Father in
heaven He will not surely let us perish so miserably."
Yes, Charlie," said Arthur gently, but earnestly, "God
is our heavenly Father; but we must not make our belief
in his love and goodness a ground of confidence that any
suffering, however terrible, shall not befall us. The young
suffer and die as well as the old; the good as well as the
bad. Not only the strong martyrs, who triumphed while
they were tortured, but feeble old men, and little children,
have been torn in pieces by wild beasts, or burned alive,
or cast down precipices. And these things, that seem so
very hard to us, God has permitted. Yet he is good, and
loves and cares for us as a father. This we must believe,
and hold fast to, in spite of everything that in our ignor-
ance may seem to contradict it. If we feel as we ought,
and as by his grace we may, we shall be able to trust all
to him with sweet resignation."
"But is it not very hard, dear Arthur, to be left to die
so?-and God can save us so easily, if he will."
Arthur was deeply affected: the tears filled his eyes as
he took Charlie upon his knee, and tried to explain to him
how wrong and selfish it would be to make our belief in
the goodness of God depend upon our rescue and preser-
vation. It was a difficult task, perhaps an untimely one,
as Max hinted. But Charlie gradually sobbed away his
excitement, and became soothed and calm.
"Well," said he after a while, drawing a long breath,
and wiping away his tears, "I know one thing: whatever
may happen, we will be kind and true to one another to
TOKENS OF LAND. 65
the last, and never think of such inhuman things as I have
read of shipwrecked people doing when nearly dead with
hunger, though we all starve together."
"Come to me, Charlie," cried Browne with a faltering
voice, "I must kiss you for those words. Yes, we will
perish, if we must, like brothers, not sullenly, as if none
had ever suffered evil before us. Weak and gentle spirits
have borne without repining sufferings as great as threaten
us. Often has my mother told me the story of sweet
Margery Wilson, drowned in the Solway water in the days
of the bloody Claverhouse, because she met with her
friends and kindred to worship God after their manner-
and never could I listen to it without tears. Ah, what a
spirit was there! She was but eighteen, and she could
have saved her life by saying a few words. Life was as
sweet to her as it is to us: she, too, had a home and
friends and kindred, whom it must have been hard for the
poor young thing to leave so suddenly and awfully. And
yet she refused to speak those words-she chose to die
rather. They took her out upon the sand where the tide
was rising fast, and bound her to a stake. Soon the water
came up to her face. She saw it go over the head of a
poor old woman whom they had tied farther out than her-
self; she saw her death struggles; she heard her gasp for
breath, as she choked and strangled in the yellow waves.
Ah! she must have had courage from the Lord, or that
sight would have made her young heart fail. Once more,
and for the last time, the king's officer asked her to make
the promise never to attend a conventicle again. He
urged it, for he pitied her youth and innocence. Her
friends and neighbours begged her to save her life. 0
speak, dear Margaret!' they cried,' and make the promise;
it can't be wrong. Do it for our sakes, dear Margaret,
and they will let you go I' But she would not save her
life by doing what she had been taught to think was
wrong; and while the swirling waves of the Solway were
oU TOKENS OF LAND.
rising fast around her, she prayed to God, and kept sing-
ing fragments of psalms, till the water choked her voice-
and so she perished. But, 0 friends, to know that such
things have been, that spirits gentle and brave as this have
lived, makes it easier to suffer courageously."
Horrible!" exclaimed Max; "I seem to see all that you
have so graphically told. But how stern and cruel the
teachers who would sacrifice human life rather than abate
their own sullen obstinacy, even in trifles, who could en-
courage this innocent but misguided girl in her refusal to
save her life by the harmless promise to attend a church
instead of a conventicle."
Just as Browne was commencing an eager and indignant
reply to Max's rash reflections upon the strictness of cove-
nanting teachings, we were suddenly startled by a deep
and solemn sound, which seemed to come from a distance.
While we listened intently, it was several times repeated
at short intervals of about fifteen seconds, each time more
distinctly than before. It resembled somewhat the deepest
tones of a powerful organ heard for an instant, and then
abruptly stopped. Nothing was to be seen in the direc-
tion from which it seemed to proceed but the sea glitter-
ing in thd moonlight. Is it to be wondered at if we
listened with feelings tinged with superstitious awe to
that strange sound, heard under such circumstances, and
at such an hour Charlie nestled closer to Arthur's side,
and I thought that the faces of my companions grew
visibly pale. Even Arthur looked perplexed and disturbed.
"What can that be I" said Morton, after a few minutes
of almost breathless silence, during which we had listened
in vain for its repetition.
"It is certainly very strange," said Arthur. "I never
heard anything at sea at all like it but once, and it is im-
possible that this can be what I then heard: but hark!"
And again the same deep pealing sound was repeated
several times, at shorter intervals, but more faintly than
TOKENS OF LAND. 57
bIfore: after continuing for a few minutes, it ceased
"What was the sound which you speak of as resembling
this l" asked Morton, when all was silent once more.
It was the cry of a kind of penguin found at the Falk-
land Islands; when heard on shore, it is harsh and loud;
but a short distance at sea, and in the night, it has a peal-
ing, solemn sound, like that which we have just heard."
"It must come from land in the neighbourhood," said
Morton; "we can probably hear farther on such a night
as this than we can distinguish land."
"Yes, sounds on the water, in calm still nights, when
there is no wind, can be heard at great distances," said
Arthur. "It is said that the 'All's well!' of the British
sentinel at Gibraltar is sometimes heard across the strait
on the African shore, a distance of thirteen miles. I have
seen at the Society Islands native drums made of large
hollow logs, which might perhaps, at a distance, sound
like what we heard a moment ago. A Wesleyan mission-
ary there once told me of a great drum that he saw at the
Tonga Islands, called the 'Tonga Toki,' which sounded
like an immense gong, and could be heard from seven to
"Why, I thought that this sounded like a gong," said
Charlie; "perhaps we are near some island now; but what
could they be drumming for so late in the night 1"
"There would be nothing very unusual about that,"
said Arthur. "The Areoi Societies, which are a kind of
native Freemasons, and are extended over most of the
larger inhabited islands in this part of the Pacific, some-
times hold their great celebrations, like the pow-wows and
war-dances of our American Indians, in the night-time.
At the Fejee Islands they have a strange ceremony called
'Tambo Nalanga,' which they celebrate at night with the
beating of drums, the blowing of conchs, and a number of
savage and cruel rites. Something or other of the same
os TOKENS OF LAND.
is observed at most of the islands, though under different
names, and with slight variations."
While speculating in this way, and endeavouring to
account for the noise which had startled us so much, we
all at once became aware of an increasing light in the
south, the "Cross," now half-way between the horizon
and the zenith, enabling us to fix the points of the com-
pass. As we gazed in that direction, the sky became
strongly illuminated by a red glare, and an immense
column of flame and smoke was seen shooting up in the
distance. Nothing but the expanse of the ocean, splendidly
illuminated, and glowing like a sea of fire, could be dis-
cerned by this light. Whether it was caused by a burning
ship, at such a distance that nothing but the light of her
conflagration was visible, or by a fire on some distant
island, we could not determine. It was in the same
quarter from which the sound had seemed to come.
Arthur was now of the opinion that we were in the neigh-
bourhood of an inhabited island or group, and that the light
proceeded from the burning bdche-de-mer house of some
successful trader, who had set fire to it (as is their custom
at the end of a prosperous season), to prevent it from fall-
ing into the hands of others in the same business.
We all grasped eagerly at this idea, for the probability
that we were not only in the neighbourhood of land, but of
a place where we should meet with Europeans, and have an
opportunity of getting home, or perhaps to the places of
our respective destination, was full of encouragement. In
a very short time the conflagration was over, and a dark
column of smoke, which marked the spot where it had
raged, was lifted slowly into the air. We heard no more
of the mysterious sound. None of the explanations sug-
gested were so perfectly satisfactory as to remove entirely
the unpleasant impression which it had produced. Before
lying down in our accustomed places, we made our usual
arrangements as to the watch-unnecessary as it seemed,
during the calm.
SUFFERING AND DELIRIUM-THE MIDNIGHT BATII-A
"Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere-
But not a drop to drink."
SEVERAL times in the course of the night I was awakened
by confused noises, like the blowing of porpoises or the
spouting of whales; but the sky had become overcast, and
it had grown so dark, that on getting up, and looking
about, I could see nothing of the creatures producing
these sounds. My slumbers were broken and uneasy, and
in the morning I found myself suffering from a dull heavy
pain in the head, accompanied by a slight nausea, and a
general feeling of languor and weakness. Even to get
upon my feet required something of an effort, which I
made, impelled rather by a dim, confused sense of duty,
than by any spontaneous impulse or inclination: had I
consulted inclination alone, I believe I should have re-
mained passive, and let things take their course.
The occurrences of the last night had given rise to some
faint expectation that by daylight we should discover land
in sight to the southward, where we had seen the great
light. But nothing was visible in that or any other
quarter. Possessed by some hope of this kind, Arthur
had been up searching the horizon since the first streak of
60 DARK WATERS.
day in the east. He showed me a large green branch
which he had picked up as it floated near us. By the
elegantly scolloped leaves, of a dark and glossy green, it
was easily recognized as a branch of the bread-fruit-tree;
and from their bright, fresh colour, and the whiteness of
the wood, where it had joined the trunk, it must have been
torn off quite recently. The calm still continued. Immense
schools of black-fish or porpoises, or some similar species,
could be seen about half a mile distant passing westward,
in an apparently endless line. The temporary beneficial
effect of yesterday's scanty supply of food and drink had
passed away entirely, and all seemed to feel in a greater
or less degree the bodily pain and weakness, and the lassi-
tude and indisposition to any kind of effort, by which I
was affected. To such an extent was this the case, that
when Arthur proposed that we should row towards the
school of fish in sight, and try to take some of them, the
strongest disinclination to make any such attempt was
evinced, and it was only after much argument and persua-
sion, and by direct personal appeals to us individually,
that he overcame this strange torpor, and induced us to
take to the oars.
On getting near enough to the objects of our pursuit
to distinguish them plainly, we were sorry to find that they
were porpoises instead of black-fish, as we had at first
supposed; the former being shy and timid, and much more
difficult to approach than the latter; and so they proved
at present. Still we persevered for a while; the hope of
obtaining food having been once excited, we were almost
as reluctant to abandon the attempt as we had been at
first to commence it. But after half an hour's severe
labour at the oars, we were obliged to give it up as quite
hopeless, and soon afterward the last of the long column
passed beyond pursuit, leaving us completely disheartened
and worn out. The sail was again arranged so as to shel-
ter us as much as possible from the sun, and Arthur com-
DARK WATERS. 61
menced distributing the leaves and twigs of the bread-fruit
branch, suggesting that some slight refreshment might
perhaps be derived from chewing them. But they retained
a saline taste, from having been in the sea-water, and no
one proceeded far with the experiment. Morton cut some
small strips of leather from his boots, and began to chew
them. He fancied that they afforded some nourishment,
and recommended the rest of us to make a similar trial;
which I believe we all did. Max almost immediately re-
jected with disgust the first morsel which he put into his
mouth, saying that he must "starve a little longer before
he could relish that." At noon the heat was more intense,
if possible, than it had been the day before. Charlie was
now in a high fever, accompanied by symptoms of an
alarming character. It was distressing to witness his suf-
ferings, and feel utterly unable to do anything for him.
Yet there was nothing that we could do: food and drink
were the only medicines he needed, and these we could
not give him. Towards the close of the afternoon he
became delirious, and began to cry out violently and in-
cessantly for water. His voice seemed to have changed,
and could now scarcely be recognized. There was some-
thing very strange and horrible in the regular, unceasing
cries which he uttered, and which sounded at times almost
like the howlings of a brute. Arthur had made a sort of
bed for him, to which each of us contributed such articles
of clothing as could be spared. It was now necessary to
watch him every moment, and frequently to use force to
keep him from getting overboard. At one time, having
got to the side of the boat, before he could be prevented,
he commenced dipping up the sea-water with his hand,
and would have drunk it, had he not been forcibly restrained.
After this had lasted nearly two hours, he suddenly ceased
his struggles and violent cries, and began to beg piteously
for a drink of water." This he continued for a consider-
able time, repeatedly asking Arthur to tell him why he
U2 DARK WATERS.
could not have "just a little," since there was "such a
plenty of it."
It is impossible to describe the horrible and sickening
effect of all this upon us, in the state of utter physical
prostration to which we had been gradually reduced.
Browne and Arthur watched over Charlie with all tle care
and patient unwearying kindness that a mother could have
shown; and they would not permit the rest of us to relieve
them for a moment, or to share any part of their charge,
painful and distressing as it was. Twice, when it became
necessary to hold the little sufferer fast, to prevent him
from getting over the gunwale, he spat fiercely in Arthur's
face, struggling and crying out with frightful vehemence.
But Browne's face seemed to soothe and control him, and
when Charlie spoke to him, it was gently, and in the lan-
guage of entreaty. Towards night he became more quiet,
and at last sunk into a kind of lethargy, breathing deeply
and heavily, but neither speaking nor moving, except to
turn from one side to the other, which he did at nearly
This change relieved us from the necessity of constantly
watching and restraining him; but Arthur viewed it as an
unfavourable and alarming symptom; he seemed now more
completely depressed than I had ever before seen him,
and to be overcome at last by grief, anxiety, and the hor-
rors of our situation.
The heat did not abate in the least with the going down
of the sun; but the night, though very close and sultry,
was calm and beautiful like the last. Soon after the moon
rose, Max and Morton undressed, and bathed themselves
in the sea. The smooth moonlit water looked so cool
and inviting, that the rest of us soon followed their ex-
ample, notwithstanding the danger from sharks. We were
all good swimmers, but no one ventured far from the boat
except Morton. I found that a few strokes quite exhausted
me, and I was obliged to turn and cling to the gunwale.
DARK WATERS. 63
In fact, so great was the loss of strength which we had all
suffered, that we came near perishing in a very singular
and almost incredible manner. After having been in the
water a sufficient time, as I thought, I discovered, on try-
ing to get into the boat again, that I was utterly unable to
do so, through.sheer weakness. At the same time I ob-
served Max making a similar attempt nearer the stern,
with no better success. We were all in the water except
Charlie; any difficulty in getting into the boat again had
not been dreamed of; but I began now to feel seriously
alarmed. My feet were drawn forcibly under the boat's
bottom, and even to maintain my hold of the gunwale as
we rose and sunk with the swell, required an exhausting
effort, which I knew I could not long continue. Arthur
was swimming near the stern, holding on to the end of a
rope, which he had cast over before coming in. By great
exertion I raised myself so far as to be able to look over
the gunwale, when I saw Browne in the same position
directly opposite me.
"Can't you get into the boat I asked.
"Really I don't think I can," said he, speaking like a
"I can't," added Max faintly; "it is as much as I can
do to maintain my hold." At this moment a voice was
heard calling out apparently from a distance, "Hilloa I
where are you I Hilloa !" It was hoarse, strained, and
distressed. Almost immediately the cry was repeated
much nearer at hand, as it seemed; and then a third time,
faint, and distant as at first. I was horror-stricken; the
cry sounded strange and fearful, and I did not recog-
nize the voice. Then it occurred to me that it must
be Morton, who had swam out farther than the rest, and
losing sight of the boat for a moment in the swell of the
sea, had become bewildered and alarmed. This might
easily happen: if but the length of a wave distant, we
should be invisible to him, unless both should chance to
64 DARK WATERS.
rise on the swell at the same time. The moon, too, had
just passed behind a dark mass of cloud, and the sea lay
in partial obscurity. I now heard Browne and Arthur
shouting, in order, as I supposed, to guide Morton by the
sound of their voices. I, too, called out as loudly as I was
able. For a moment all was still again. Then I heard
some one say There he is !" and a dark speck appeared
on the crest of a wave a little to the right. At this moment
the moon shcne out brightly, and I saw that it was Morton,
swimming toward us. He reached the boat panting and
out of breath, and catching hold near me with an almost
convulsive effort, remained some minutes without being
able to speak a word. Arthur, who had observed Max's
struggles to get into the yawl, now swam round to where
Morton and I were hanging on, and taking hold also, his
additional weight depressed the gunwale nearly to the
water's edge, when he got his knee over it; and at last, by
a sudden effort, rolled into the boat. He then helped me
to get in, and we two the rest.
Morton said that after swimming but a short distance
from the boat, as he supposed, he found himself getting
tired and very weak, and on turning, greatly to his sur-
prise, could see nothing of us. In reality, however, there
was nothing surprising in this, his face being on a level
with the surface, and the boat, with neither sail nor mast
up, being much less in height than the long smooth swells.
Perceiving how great was his danger, and becoming some-
what alarmed, he had called out in the manner described:
when he heard us shouting in return, he was actually
swimming away from us, and it was only by following the
direction of our voices that lie had at last reached the boat.
That night we kept no regular watch as we had hitherto
done, or at least we made no arrangement for that pur-
pose, though one or another of us was awake most of the
time watching Charlie, who continued, however, in the
same deep lethargic slumber.
DARK WATERS. 65
For my part, it was a long time before I could sleep at
all. There was something in the fate that threatened us
more appalling than the terrors of death. The impres-
sions produced by the ravings, and cries, and struggles of
our poor little fellow-sufferer were yet fresh, and they
could not be effaced. All in vain I strove to control the
workings of my morbidly-excited imagination-I could
not shut out the fearful thoughts and anticipations which
the occurrences of the day so naturally and obviously
suggested. The lapse of twenty-four hours might find us
all reduced to the same helpless state, deprived of con-
sciousness and reason. One after another must succumb
to the fever, and become delirious, until he who should last
fall its victim should find himself alone in the midst of his
stricken and raving companions-alone retaining reason,
no longer to be accounted a blessing, since it could only
serve to make him sensible to all the accumulated horrors
of his situation. I shuddered as I contemplated the possi-
bility that I might be that most wretched one, the last of
all to sink and perish. At length I began to imagine that
my mind was actually beginning to fail, and that I was
becoming delirious. At first it was but a fearful suspicion.
Soon, however, it took such strong possession of me, that
I was compelled to relinquish all thought of sleep. Sitting
up, I saw that Arthur was awake, and by the side of
Charlie. His face was upturned, and his hands clasped,
as if in prayer. I could see his lips move, and even the
tears trickling from beneath his closed eyelids, for the
moonlight fell full upon his countenance. He did not
observe me, and after a few moments he lay down again
without speaking, and soon appeared to slumber like the
Pressing my hands to my head, I leaned over the stern,
my face almost touching the water. A current of cooler
air was stirring close to the surface, as if it were the
breathing of the sea, for there was no wind. How preter.
66 DARK WATERS.
naturally still everything seemed-what an intensity of
silence How softly the pale moonlight rested upon the
water! A grand and solemn repose wrapped the heavens
and the ocean-no sound beneath all that vast blue dome
-no motion but the heaving of the long sluggish'swell.
Gradually I became calmer; the excitement and pertur-
bation of my mind began to subside, and at length I felt
as though I could sleep. As I resumed my place by the
side of Browne, he moved, as if about to awake, and mur-
mured indistinctly some broken sentences. From the
words that escaped him, he was dreaming of that far-off
home which he was to behold no more. In fancy he was
wandering again by the banks of the Clyde, the scene of
many a schoolboy ramble. But it seemed as though the
shadow of present realities darkened even his dreams, and
he beheld these familiar haunts no longer in the joyous
light of early days. How strange it looks!" he muttered
slowly; "how dark the river is-how deep and dark!-it
seems to me it was not so then, Robert." Truly, companion
in suffering, this is no falsely-coloured dream of thine, for
we have all come at last into deep and dark waters.
THE CACHELOT AND HIS ASSAILANTS-THE COMBAT-
"Strange creatures round us sweep;
Strange things come up to look at us,
The monsters of the deep."
THE first thought that flashed through my mind with
returning consciousness in the morning, was, "This is the
last day for hope; unless relief comes to-day in some
shape, we must perish." I was the first awake, and glancing
at the faces of my companions lying about in the bottom
of the boat, I could not help shuddering. They had a
strange and unnatural look-a miserable expression of
pain and weakness. All that was familiar and pleasant to
look upon had vanished from those sharpened and haggard
features. Their closed eyes seemed singularly sunken;
and their matted hair, sunburnt skin, and soiled clothing,
added something of wildness to the misery of their
Browne, who had slept beside me, was breathing hard,
and started every now and then, as if in pain. Charlie
slumbered so peacefully, and breathed so gently, that for
a moment I was alarmed, and doubted whether he was
breathing at all, until I stooped down and watched him
closely. There were still no indications of a breeze. A
school of whales was visible about a quarter of a mile to
the westward, spouting and pursuing their unwieldy sport;
U5 A SAIL.
but I took no interest in the sight, and leaning over the
gunwale, commenced bathing my head and eyes with the
sea-water. While thus engaged, I was startled by seeing
an enormous cachelot suddenly break the water within
fifteen yards of the boat. Its head, which composed
nearly a third of its entire bulk, seemed a mountain of
flesh. A couple of small calves followed it, and came
swimming playfully round us. For a minute or two the
cachelot floated quietly at the surface where it had first
appeared, throwing a slender jet of water, together with
a large volume of spray and vapour, into the air; then
rolling over upon its side, it began to lash the sea with its
broad and powerful tail, every stroke of which produced
a sound like the report of a cannon. This roused the
sleepers abruptly, and just as they sprang up, and began
to look around in astonishment for the cause of so start-
ling a commotion, the creature cast its misshapen head
downwards, and throwing its immense flukes high into
the air, disappeared. We watched anxiously to see where
it would rise, conscious of the perils of such a neighbour-
hood, and that even a playful movement, a random sweep
of the tail, while pursuing its gigantic pastime, would be
sufficient to destroy us. It came to the surface at about
the same distance as before, but on the opposite side of
the boat, throwing itself half out of the water as it rose:
again it commenced lashing the sea violently, as if in the
mere wanton display of its terrible strength, until far
around the water was one wide sheet of foam. The calves
still gambolled near us, chasing each other about and under
the yawl, and we might easily have killed one of them,
had we not been deterred by the almost certain conse-
quences of arousing the fury of the old whale. Meantime
the entire school seemed to be edging down towards us.
There was not a breath of air, and we had no means of
getting out of the way of the danger to which we should
be exposed if among them, except by taking to the oars;
A SAIL. 69
and this nothing short of the most pressing and imme-
diate peril could induce us to do. But our attention was
soon withdrawn from the herd to the singular and alarming
movements of the individual near us. Rushing along the
surface for short distances, it threw itself several times
half clear of the water, turning after each of these leaps,
as abruptly as its unwieldy bulk would permit, and running
a tilt with equal violence in the opposite direction. Once,
it passed so near us, that I think I could have touched it
with an oar, and we saw distinctly its small dull eye, and
the loose, wrinkled folds of skin, about its tremendous
jaws. For a minute afterwards the boat rolled danger-
ously in the swell caused by the swift passage of so vast
an object. Suddenly, after one of these abrupt turns, the
monster headed directly towards us, and came rushing
onward with fearful velocity, either not noticing us at all,
or else mistaking the boat for some sea-creature, with
which it designed to measure its strength. There was no
time for any effort to avoid the danger; and even had
there been, we were too much paralyzed by its imminence
to make such an effort. The whale was scarcely twelve
yards off-certainly not twenty. Behind it stretched a
foaming wake, straight as an arrow. Its vast mountainous
head ploughed up the waves like a ship's cutwater, piling
high the foam and spray before it. To miss us was now a
sheer impossibility, and no earthly power could arrest the
creature's career. Instant destruction appeared inevitable..
I grew dizzy, and my head began to swim, while the
thought flashed confusedly through my mind, that Infinite
Wisdom had decreed that we must die, and this manner of
perishing had been chosen in mercy, to spare us the pro-
longed horrors of starvation. What a multitude of inco-
herent thoughts and recollections crowded upon my mind
in that moment of time! A thousand little incidents of my
past life, disconnected and trivial-a shadowy throng of
familiar scenes and faces surged up before me, vividly as
70 A SAIL.
objects revealed for an instant by the glare of the light-
ning in the gloom of a stormy night. Closing my eyes, I
silently commended my soul to God, and was endeavour-
ing to compose myself for the dreadful event, when Morton
sprang to his feet, and called hurriedly upon us to shout
together. All seemed to catch his intention at once, and
to perceive in it a gleam of hope; and standing up, we
raised our voices in a hoarse cry, that sounded strange and
startling even to ourselves. Instantly, as it seemed, the
whale dove almost perpendicularly downwards, but so
great was its momentum, that its fluked tail cut the air
within an oar's length of the boat as it disappeared.
Whether the shout we had uttered caused the sudden
plunge to which we owed our preservation it is impossi-
ble to decide. Notwithstanding its bulk and power, the
cachelot is said to be a timid creature, except when injured
or enraged, and great caution has to be exercised by
whalers in approaching them. Suddenly recollecting this,
the thought of undertaking to scare the formidable monster
had suggested itself to Morton, and he had acted upon it
in sheer desperation, impelled by the same instinct that
causes a drowning man to catch even at a straw.
But however obtained, our reprieve from danger was
only momentary. The whale came to the surface at no
great distance, and once more headed towards us. If
frightened for an instant, it had quicldy recovered from
the panic, and now there was no mistaking the creature's
purpose: it came on, exhibiting every mark of rage, and
with jaws literally wide open. We felt that no device or
effort of our own could be of any avail. We might as
well hope to resist a tempest or an earthquake, or the
shock of a falling mountain, as that immense mass of
matter, instinct with life and power, and apparently ani-
mated by brute fury.
Every hope had vanished, and I think that we were all
in a great measure resigned to death, and fully expecting
A SAIL. 71
it, when there came (as it seemed to us, by actual miracle)
a most wonderful interposition.
A dark bulky mass (in the utter bewilderment of the
moment we noted nothing distinctly of its appearance)
shot perpendicularly from the sea twenty feet into the air,
and fell with a tremendous concussion directly upon the
whale's back. It must have been several tons in weight,
and the blow inflicted was crushing. For a moment the
whale seemed paralyzed by the shock, and its vast frame
quivered with agony; but recovering quickly, it rushed
with open jaws upon its strange assailant, which imme-
diately dove, and both vanished. Very soon the whale
came to the surface again; and now we became the wit-
nesses of one of those singular and tremendous spectacles
of which the vast solitudes of the tropical seas are doubt-
less often the theatre, but which human eyes have rarely
The cachelot seemed to be attacked by two powerful
confederates, acting in concert. The one assailed it from
below, and continually drove it to the surface, while the
other-the dark bulky object-repeated its singular attacks
in precisely the same manner as at first, whenever any
part of the gigantic frame of the whale was exposed, never
once missing its mark, and inflicting blows which one
would think singly sufficient to destroy any living creature.
At times the conflict was carried on so near us as to en-
danger our safety, and we could see all of the combatants
with the utmost distinctness, though not at the same time.
The first glimpse which we caught of the second antago-
nist of the whale, as it rose through the water to the attack,
enabled us at once to identify it as that most fierce and
formidable creature-the Pacific sword-fish.
The other, as I now had an opportunity to observe, was
a fish of full one third the length of the whale itself, and
of enormous bulk in proportion; it was covered with a
dark rough skin, in appearance not unlike that of an alli-